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See our feature on Robert Friend

and read his poetry

and other translations

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Found in Translation:100 Years of Hebrew Poetry

Agnon's Alef Bet

Selected Poems of Leah Goldberg

Sunset Possibilities and Other Poems

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All work copyright Jean Shapiro Cantu. All rights reserved.

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Translations by Robert Friend

from Found in Translation: A Hundred Years of Modern Hebrew Poetry Edited and introduced by Gabriel Levin. (Menard Press, London, 1999)

The monasteries lift gold domes . . .

by Yocheved Bat-Miriam

The monasteries lift gold domes . . .

The monasteries lift gold domes,
crosses, crosses. I weary, seeing them.
I speak in parables and they are strange;
otherwise, I could not meditate.

The memory of the ancient generations
rises like a vision: a temple strong and splendid.
The roads are humming like encircling rivers,
an exultant throng draws near.

We have fled, today, the parables of Mount Hermon,
of Mount Gilboa and the fields of Carmel;
Sharon and Galilee mourn only in the adage,
the lordly cedar only in the proverb.

Left with my poverty, I envy
every sown valley rising like a song.
An exile, strange to every wind,
may I be given field and fallow land.

Oh may my home be like a kneeling camel,
my days move onward like yoked mules;
my silent soul howls like the jackals,
and cries out like the sea!





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