Also in this issue, Karen's translations of

Naim Araidi

Shaul Carmel

Michel Haddad

Yehuda Amichai

Asher Reich


Other translations by Karen Alkalay-Gut in previous issues:

Yehuda Amichai
Miriam Baruch Chalfi
Raquel Chalfi
Yaffa Zins
Iris Le'al
Leah Rudnitsky
Ben Zion Tomer

Poems by Karen in Spring 2000


A previous feature on Karen's book
In My Skin


Karen's website

Recommended sites:




Ms. Karen Alkalay-Gut _______

For more poetry

Schulamith Chava Halevy

Schulamith Chava Halevy

Translated by Karen Alkalay-GutKaren Alkalay-Gut

The Blood Is Calling

The worm-riddled mulberry trees of
Dona Gracia and Don
Joseph Nasi call
from their Autumn in thirsty Galilee
Ay my blood, my blood, cries out
in silkworm silence
from the cauldron

Through a scarlet threaded scarf,
I call from a poppy-picked meadow
a green field bereft of promise
a green that is longing Ay
blood of severed poppy cries in vain

The blood is calling
Ay la sangre llama
From Sevilla it hisses
all the way here to me
Through pogroms, expulsions and rape
my ancestors sacrificed at the autos de fe
those who fled and those who
bartered their honor
for a soul in exile

My exiled soul is
exposed to all
like the scarlet cord
from Jericho's wall
gashes of torment
spread out like a skirt
in my-soul-soaked sands
I seek release
but in vain my blood's silence calls out
to let go the extinguished shores

Red Summer Salad

First start with cherries,
equal amounts of dark
and light. Using a small
well-sharpened knife
circle each fruit
with an oblique cut.
This eases the pitting.

With hands pointing down
let the nectar gathering
around the nails drain
into the flesh of the fruit
in the bowl…

Must concentrate
There's no time for thought

Carefully not to cut
the flesh. (It is not kosher
and do not — no matter what — remember…
other blood.)

Wash the strawberries gently
without bruising the texture
without thinking of it
(sand on blood).

The strawberries I first shape
in the form of a heart while removing
the stem. The left hand binds the fruit
to the cutting board
while the right slices

If possible, the raspberries
should be picked fresh.
Holding the fruit at its base
pull it gently
from the prickly stem.
(And the bushes tend to protect,
scratch hands, feet,
catch at the hem of the skirt
like an irritating memory.
You get over that. The taste
makes it worth it.)

Those who desire can
add mulberries, preferably red.
In France they add
red currants, and Sirop de Cassis or Grenadine
to balance the tartness
but one may simple add sugar to taste.

Serve at once.