5 Poems from MIGO
(poems by Hedva Harechavi; translated by Linda Stern Zisquit)
WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN US DUE TO UNDERSTANDING
In front of
of a painted dog-trainer
next to a painted dog kennel
with a window with a painted curtain
of white velvet.
the cane and the cloak.
The stare of a she-dog
crosses my mind.
And the stare of a shedog exactly like the stare of a shedog.
And she wanted to go in every direction the shedog
and she wanted
an isolation room comes to mind full of shedog
making love with shedog.
And a shedog,
I want to say,
even a shedog who is a domesticated landscape,
and the one who walks, goes out, returns, walks, goes out, returns,
returns, goes out; and the one who dances now
with those gardeners,
with all those gardeners,
belonging only to those gardeners, I want to say
perhaps those gardeners
a small silver knife comes to my mind,
and what such a small silver knife that stirred her imagination,
and who dances with the statue of liberty on the dance floor
where are the cane and the cloak.
A family photograph comes to mind
from a place that was when it was
sprawled around me in a massive amount,
she looks at me with all her might
A waiting room comes to mind.
When lately have I sat on a linoleum floor
in a waiting room.
The reality didn’t move from her place.
There she froze.
There she daydreamed.
There she kept her head up
to grasp something.
And clouds descended.
I am amazed how some small silver knife
that stirred her imagination causes her
to speak not to the point now.
I wonder whether it was like this always.
If it will be like this always.
And what an isolation room full of shedog,
and it seems that she,
The remains of a family photograph come to mind
from a place that was when it was
flowing blood and sweat.
Only what, where is the cane and the cloak.
And what, what if.
I wonder what “and what, what if”
If only God accompanied daring dogs.
If only God would accompany daring dogs.
If only Elisha. If only Elisha accompanied daring dogs.
If only Elisha would accompany daring dogs.
And when he rummages in my pockets and asks “where is my father,” yes, yes,
It is correct.
That’s how I felt:
Not absurd that something — or someone — determines for me.
And in general, to leave after me slices and remnants.
To do with myself other things
And in general,
this is my life.
This is the life I wanted.
Like then, when all the reality was once upon a time,
and also when she stood in a line,
when she sang
after two such days,
and the earth was beyond her,
and it didn’t matter to her what next, what next, what next
and when I don’t answer when he rummages through my pockets
and asks “where is my father,” a sign, yes,
it is a sign.
For me it is a sign
What is beautiful between us is beautiful due to understanding
and then, much much more.
nothing is dear to me like,
and it seems
the most I am capable of expressing
is the sound of a wounded
And again I find my father’s torments on my flesh
much more quiet
much more gently
much more in torment
Night. No night without the night beast, and those voices
all those voices, like those voices
and the voices of Elisha
and the new voices of Elisha
THE LAST CHANGE
The last change was death.
I appeared closer to the cold knife.
To the wind. To the water. To the dead.
Something – or someone – dragged me suddenly three centimeters from me
as if I were an animal cut out of cardboard
dropped into a paper basket
without moving an eyelid.
I was made callous.
All around a crowd of people gathered.
And people said: “oh Hedva, she really knows how to be a dog”
The section in parentheses is: the ones who interest me are those who yearn
with all their might
to sculpt the sky,
to straighten the colors of the rainbow,
to speak in the language of the clouds,
to touch a coil, to hunt lions who have gone out of their minds,
to listen to the noise of the waves-of-the-facts,
to erase the facts
I remembered the night beast of Avot Yeshurun, trudging from desert to desert
adorned with night flowers
— above her forehead the holy wreathe —
pure light red light great light spilling from her eyes.
And also when she would nod her head,
stamp her feet,
striking the old sand
but the climax was the magic hymn of the days that passed
slowly slowly slowly,
the galloping of the horses on the water,
the rejoicing of the handsome young men in the sun – the hike, the rhythm, the conversation, the pleasure,
the desire, the want, the thirst, the trembling, the desire, the black sweat –
here and there someone lifts his eyes, looks at the sky,
and those voices, all those voices, where are those voices
And the voices of Elisha
and the new voices of Elisha
AND ANOTHER THING
Or to fall at your small feet and cry.
Or to take bread and salt and water, or even
a watch, to the desert,
and to walk in the desert,
and to get lost in the desert,
beyond the desert. Or
no matter to where, the main thing
onward from here.
And now that it is different.
The blunting of the senses comes closer.
A small stone turns into a tower.
A crumbling wall turns into a pile of blue.
A drop of blood on the floor turns into a mystical carpet.
Reality after reality walks drunkenly
for a week already, with those sandals and the blood
and the star of David
All in all I’m a worn-out dog living between volcanic mountains
that God created for her, circling in silence
after nothing but to talk to talk to talk to talk,
like one who doesn’t even have her own kennel
And the little death, with the white make-up,
the one who doesn’t take his eye off me,
raises his head to the heavens and screams to all the world “Hedva, my Hedva,
how I wasted my life on your stupid legend”
And I was also in a clothing store. I wanted laces. Then I went
to a punk performance. I changed my dress, silk stockings,
jacket, boots, gloves. I learned to travel at all sorts of speeds.
I returned home. I did the dishes. I washed the floor.
I arranged the sheets. I left the chess on the table. Your turn
At first, I was struck by the intensity of Linda Zisquit’s translation of Hedva Harechavi’s poems. They present wild mixtures of what are often called showing and telling. Alongside mysterious figures, the images tend to dwell on and return to animals. The commentary jerks between narrative glimpses and aphorisms. Harechavi presents an intuitive depth of both thinking and feeling that is difficult to describe. Then, I discovered a melancholic dimension to these poems. They are selected from Harechavi’s book, Migo (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2018), and the title of the book is the nickname of the poet’s son, Elisha, who passed away in 2003. Once Zisquit informed me that “these poems are written to and about Elisha,” the fuel for Harechavi’s intensity became clear. Yet, it is oddly refreshing to notice that she did not choose overly sentimental language for this project. Instead, she chose to write difficult poems—poems that challenge us to engage with the perplexing intensity of a mother relating to her deceased son.