I have been like a bomb
burdened with death,
I have bathed
in bloody sweat,
already beneath my feet
the earth has been hacked away,
and see for yourselves, I am alive!
Now I am like a pomegranate —
pure juice and seed
and the time is coming
I will not restrain my ripening —
I am ready to fall,
to burst open
in the light of dawn,
when the tendency of man is strongest
to give one’s heart
Praised be not-so-simple profanity,
so similar to bread and to salt,
to thundering air, when it’s chilly,
to silence, which arrives in distress,
to ripeness, when branches are twisted,
to anguish, which balls up in a knot in our throat,
it comes when we can no longer keep quiet
when the water has risen over our mouth…
Like the heart in ragged fists,
like the far-away lunar plain —
A curse means no harm
it aspires to what I have a mind to say.
A word is born from silence
and it casts for all eternity
unexpected beams of light.
And when again the word is lost
in the silence — the distances resound
and triggered rings ripple
through the water,
through the air,
through the heart.
[I seek no great joys, only as much]
I seek no great joys, only as much
as suffices to draw breath —
I want to rise for the short poem,
that casts a long shadow,
that may envelope, as if with a veil,
the sharp edge of clear reason,
of far-away places — of sour wine,
the suffering of never reaching.
[There is, there is a certain kind of smile]
There is, there is a certain kind of smile,
a certain spark, a wink, a good intention —
They unlock the deepest heights,
they soften a stone on the road,
the strongest cogwheels crumble,
brushing against your gentle bones!
__ __ __
Let go, I will wipe the blood from your mouth —
you have been clenching your teeth too strong.
The translation of these poems was supported by a fellowship from the Yiddish Book Center.