In Netanya, above the cliff poem by Elisha Porat


In Netanya, above the cliff
Elisha Porat
In Netanya, above the cliff, on one
of those sweet Friday afternoons, I
sit on a stone that marks the border
between the garden, the promenade
and the street. A warm sun ploughs
furrows that shiver across my back,
echoing the foam above the waves below,
of a wintry sea that retains the chill.
The town around me already
slowly removes the bandages
from terrorist attacks that hurt, grinding down
without mercy. Suddenly I am pounced upon
by this vision I have had before: my whole being
beholds the grim advance, the realization
of day-to-day Zionism.
The first German tourists run up and down
the paths, and the entrance to the gallery throngs
with holidaymakers: the town is coming round;
on warm Friday afternoons; at the end
of spring, two thousand and four.
As before, I am cast aside. Your turn
has not yet come. Someone else
will pledge his heart on your behalf.
With the grim advance, the realization
of day-to-day Zionism, the salt of my
life, and the single breath of spirit
from the fibers closing slowly
around my aging heart.

Translated from the Hebrew by Eddie Levenston
© All Rights Reserved.

Elisha Porat
In Netanyah, on the Cliff
In Netanyah, on the cliff, on this sweet
Friday midday, I
sit on the low wall
that runs between garden, promenade
and street. On my back the pleasant sun
ploughs rippling furrows
just like the foaming waves
down below of the winter sea
that hasn’t yet warmed up.
The town around me is already
slowly peeling off the bandages from the
searing attacks that so mercilessly
smashed through it. And suddenly
there swooped upon me
that vision that I have already seen:
my whole being looks upon the dreadfully
nondescript path to
Zionism achieved.
The first German tourists
hurry there and back along the paths,
and at the entrance to the gallery a leisurely
crowd murmurs: the town is coming back to itself;
on the warm Friday midday; at the end
of spring in the year two thousand and four.
I am held over just like then: your
turn hasn’t come yet. And someone or other
will surely give his heart for you.
In the dreadfully nondescript path to
this Zionism achieved, the salt
of my life, and the only soul
of the fibres that are slowly blocking up
around my aging heart.
Translated from the Hebrew by Asher Harris
© All Rights Reserved


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