Monday, August 22, 2005

Dahlia Ravikovitch 1936-2005

Just got the terrible terrible news that Dahlia is gone. She was a great poet, and a great person to be with, funny, witty, and brave. Here is a poem. If you want to see more of her work, let me know.


AN EXCEPTIONAL AUTUMN
Slowly slowly I see it vividly,
how I was trapped here.
Ten in the morning, a pastoral tranquility
following a night-long vigil.
Plants bloom wherever the eye falls.
Patches of fabric cover every available surface.
And the kettle.
And the household implements conspicuously spare.
And the calm within.
And from without, the plaintive wail of a toddler:
they've snatched his swing.
Someone digs with a simple farming tool--
I've forgotten its name.
(Forgotten? Ah, well.)
Steady blows, and the rustle of a hose being dragged along.
Everybody here sweeps and cultivates
the fauna and flora.
The women also knit a lot,
manual labor is of the utmost importance.
This diligence and drive to be useful
paint a false idyllic picture.
But for the fear of the Labor Movement's creed,
men would have swallowed each other alive.

It's been three days already
that my mother sleeps the sleep of the just.
I said to Ido: Grandma sleeps in peace and quiet.
And Ido said: Is it perhaps eternal sleep?
God forbid, I said,
not eternal sleep.
Just peace and quiet.
And yet, without sowing fear,
I tell myself
eternal sleep is best of all.

2 Comments:

Blogger dog1net said...

Poignant and full of voice and imagery. The last verse especially captures the essense of a life lived with purpose and dignity.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Avi Tz. said...

beautifully translated. not only do you capture the flavour of her language, but the intimacy of the imagery as if you were the writer herself (which, in a sense, you are).

7:50 AM  

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