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Tsipi Keller Translates from the Hebrew
Poetry by Sharron Hass

 
'Piano Quintet in E minor' by Guthrie Lowe
 

'Our Life is the Life of Beasts' © 2007 Alexander Calder

Our Life is the Life of Beasts

Pharaoh sails from Noh-Ammon
across a green-eyed Nile.

A dark music echoes in the chimes
of his blood. Sorrow and the tumult of parting
stir the body, like a leaf,
across the night.

Only dough and candy I put in my mouth:
food for the reckless dying.

With the same breath we consider
fleeing and meeting: I become a howling
wolf and he a white bird.

Round and round I pace in the yard
within towering walls of gold and fire
summer has erected. Twisted and cold
like a crocodile, he goes up the river (to the outer calm?)

With time, the words ebb between us.
We're ashamed to admit we haven't died.
Find it hard to admit that passion suddenly
looms, again and again robbing us of oblivion.

Only the motion of being is consistent.
Not hell. Not happiness.
Like laden vats of wine
we are filled with mistrust and longing.

Our life is the life of beasts.
A bare and desperate life
of failed love.

Now only the singular gathers strength.
Now weariness, too, is drunkenness: the ease
with which the thread leaps from the hand, memory from pain

 

'To The Fox' © 2007 Alexander Calder

To The Fox

Very still under leaves, under shut eyes,
I tremble.
You light a fire around me, and I'm cold. Your arms
pin me to the ground. A hardy, twining vine
wraps around us. I don't breathe. Grapes upon grapes my body
scatters on black soil.

It is not me you touch. Not into me you enter.
Into the fox in me. A wild beast and a night of no
features.
A terrible softness. Depths that yield no reflection
close on me.

A screen of eyes opens along me
as I walk away from you. In the absolute parting of a day
or two, spans the white stillness of plains--
like prey, the open vastness numbs me.
In it, I burn motionless.
My life becomes dear to me:
it belongs to the distant hunter
and his limpid eye.

And then, along the body travels
the memory of love--a low voice, sweet...
I know already, the voice that bid
the sun, the grasses, the blood to rise,
won't allow me to run

 

'Beyond the Forest' © 2007 Alexander Calder

Beyond the Forest

Beyond the forest, the woman I left
waits. I haven't touched her body
as I touched the men in whose bodies I slept.
I drove a black eye through her soft hair,
and the careless lipstick, smeared like ice cream
across her lips, was the flaw
which promised warmth and hunger.
I didn't touch her
but gave her the eye,
and she chased after me, delirious with hope
to duplicate herself. The sweep of her loneliness
began to burn--a star disengaging
from its frozen, protective orbit.
She chased after me
to let the words that drop from my mouth
fill her lap
with sweets
to convert me into vassals,
to break me into kingdoms, summer houses,
to make me the beheaded chicken
she'll tie around her waist while cooking

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last update: July 2, 2007