Anthology of contemporary Hebrew poetry I

From "STONE"

He tells me

watch the stone.
Watch the stone again.

What changes in you
as you look.
The colors sing as they vanish.
What remains
of the one you embraced who’s no longer with you
rustling in the dark.
The dawn will cover him and you.
The white stain, the stone,
will fade in your sleep.
Tour breath too
you won’t hear.

I don’t answer him.
I don’t see him.
I obey.

When you meet the stone
Leave it alone, I said,

placed in the palm of your hand
sealed in its secret

its endurance greater than yours

lean on it.

Wait with it,

it is a piece

of earth

when the surrounding landscape is snuffed out

you’re alone in the dark

and its weight is in your palm

and your weight

listen to the weight

for the weight

is its entire life

life comes

from you

see how it suckles

in your palm

borne, ascending, taking wing


The stone, placed

before me in the field,


in mighty waters

with the field

with me

with the starry heavens

goes up in flames

absorbed in the air

and still placed

before me and I

before it

am placed

You asked for
the bird in the stone

to wake
the bird in the stone

and the stone crouched

compact, bulky


brooding on its insects

on an old dampness

when you weren’t there

it awoke

glided over the mountain,

the flock of rocks descending

to the cemetery,

above the cluster of cypresses,

the candles on the tombstones,

and the starlight touching its wings

asked about you.

The crushing stone
the murderous stone
shattering heads

is quiet

in the stone wall.

Oh the howling of the dogs

during those nights that aren’t


now I’ll take you away

from that hour

that calm hour of night

when I sit on the stone

its chill against my back

my ears to the crickets

my eyes to the stars.

I don’t belittle

the dirge

in the cracks of the wall

and I don’t reject

the starlight that falls

like milk on my chest,

on the stone.

The stone and I

endure our hour

and memory within us

folds in its cell.

All that we learned

and carved in the stone

is hushed, rests,

light gusts of wind
pass over us

like indefinite sentence.

I got down on the floor.

I lay on my side.

I curled up turned into

a stone,


sealed as sleep.

Within the stone

I gazed at the dark

looking for limits

of stone.

The edges of the stone,

the more I study them

the more I lose them, and find them

when I leave in pain

it limits.

Movement of particles

like light rain

on the face.

Far within my body, warmth

still, signifying


He who suffocates in a stone,
learns its limits,

from the holes, the openings,

concealed passages,

a wind blows toward you

silvers of light breaking away

recall your eyes.”

I forced myself

to raise my eyelashes.

The flowing stone,

a tear that melted,

a smile.

You came into the room,

touched the stone

and I rose to welcome you.

Published 2 November 1999
Original in Hebrew
Translated by Gabriel Levin

Contributed by Helicon © Dan Armon Eurozine


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