NOT IN YOUR WAR ANYMORE
A collection of poetry written by Ada A. Aharoni, Ph.D. International President of PAVE PEACE Association and Coordinator of the International BAN - WAR CAMPAIGN.
Copyright 1997 - Ada A. Aharoni - All Rights Reserved.
Page Last Updated: October 30, 1997.
To HaimWith much love How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings that announces peace! Isaiah 52 He who walks with peace walks with him... The Koran I am the enemy you killed, my friend. Wilfred OwnDr. Ada Aharoni57 Horev Street Haifa ISRAEL 34343Tel: +972-4-8243230 Fax: +972-4-8261288E-Mail: adah.matav.net.ilWWW: URL: http://www.tx.technion.ac.il/
Not in Your War Anymore
I Want to Kill You War
A Green Week
Metal and Violets in Jerusalem
The Second Exodus
Arab Israeli Student on T.V.
The Sulha Pomegranate
If a White Horse from Jerusalem
Grandmother and the Wolf
Earth Day 1995
Mothers You Know
Teddy Bears for Guns
Peace is a Woman and a Mother
The More Interesting Life
From Haifa to Near Faraway Cairo
A Bridge of Peace
Killing Me Softly
You Cannot Bomb Me Anymore
Years Ago 500
What is Peace to Me?
Unicorn in Manhattan's Cloisters
A Bicentennial Visit to Plymouth Plantation
Wilfred Owen: We Are Still Deaf
Sound of Peace
To an Egyptian Soldier
In Memory of My Uncle Jacques
The Sapling of Peace
The Snake on the Watermelon Skin
To a Soldier
This Cursed War
Remember Me Every Time the Moon Rises Over the Sphinx
I Opened the Door
Who Did Everything On Time?
On Yom Kippur
Take Us to Soweto
Africa Sings Freedom
NOT IN YOUR WAR ANYMORE While watching and admiring the tantalizing foliage (Penn State University, Pa.) "War is as anachronistic as cannibalism, slavery and colonialism..." Rosalie Bertell, No Immediate Answer I am not in your war anymore. Surely we cannot paint war green when even the long Cold War is dying, so let's paint it in all its true foliage colors, to help its fall First, flowing flamboyant crimson blood on throbbing temples and hands, then russet bronze fiery metal cartridges stuffing the crevices of young hearts while golden laser Napalm dragon tongues gluttonously lick the sizzling eyes and lips of our children, under the giant mushrooms freshened by mustard and acid rain Surely, at the close of our great atomic century we will soon find the archaic history tree, where we can dump our fearful bottle legacy And our grandchildren will ask their fathers, what were tanks for, Pa? And with eyes full of wonder, they will read the story of the glorious imprisonment of the Nuclear Giant in his bottle, corked for ever, and will say: Well done Pa, well done Ma!
I Want to Kill You War I want to kill you war, forever, not like a phoenix that always comes back I want to kill you war and I don't know how and I don't know why all the people of the world don't join hands to kill you war -- you the greatest murderer of them all. They just know how to kill the one or the two or the hundreds and the thousands, but not you, you the greatest killer of them all. So, we will kill you war, before you kill us. This is real deterrence strategy, not the useless liar one we're so busy with. All the peace marchers of the world Will take the heavy metal cases full of nuclear wastes and dump them over War's head, the cases will leak, as usual, and War will dissolve back into his archaic bottle where he belongs -- We shut the cork. A Green Week A week like fresh mint, a green week spreading its fragrance to the roots of my being "Have a green week!" My father used to bless us on Saturday nights, "Have a green year" he beamed, brandishing a fresh mint sprig over our curly heads - and give it back to the world fully blossoming. Who will give me a green week now that he's dead? Now that the Gates of Heaven are shut, and we dump our grayish nuclear waste in the belly depths of our innocent green earth? Only peace science Only peace technology Only peace, ushering A World Beyond War.
Myopic Scientist With green eyes like legend woods before burning, waving and sweeping like sky rockets You are created for exploring and building, for love and science and joy on peaceful green earth not to burn, not to destroy our hopes with nuclear bombs and radiation Dear scientist, don't let the war merchants steal your research, your unaware souls, your creation, your bubbling myopic brains. All our voices radiate in fear all our violins sing our impending requiem brewed in your stupendous high-tech labs. Dear scientist, let our wings flap freely in fresh, clean breeze in the spring and in the fall before we fall into the atrocious nuclear winter brewed in your stupendous reactors before they blow up as in Three Mile Island, as in Chernobyl. Dear scientist, don't allow the war mongers to gobble up your inventions to fatten their stomachs for star wars and earth wars or for any, any uncivil civil war. This poem, written in Amir Gilboa's style, is dedicated to the memory of this great, late Israeli poet.
Pollution "After a nuclear winter the living will envy the dead." U.N. Peace Exhibition, NYC, 1990 When I see a bird and I say bird they say bird When I hear its song and I say song they say song But when I see bombs and I say bombs they say peacemakers And when I see nuclear pollution and I say radiation they say energy And when I see nuclear pollution and I say nuclear holocaust THEY SAY DETERRENCE. But what kind of deterrence Can be had When we are all dead dead.
Metal and Violets in Jerusalem In a time of pomegranates and yellow balloons, why are your looks so bronze-like? Deep in you a valve is locked, and even a warm yearning clasp cannot unlock the metallic clasp. How can I unpuzzle your dreams? I wish I could sow violets under your pores until their scent melted your metal into mine, I wish I could place Jerusalem in your hand.
The Second Exodus Today, I again bring my grain vessel to the docks of your granary, father - while breathing the wheat smells you loved, me in Dagon Silo in Haifa, you far away back in Cairo. Joseph in Egypt land, Canaanite jugs, ritual bronze sickles from temples, crushing-stones, mill-stones and mortars - all link me back to you on old rusty scales. I remember your orange-beige office in Cairo's Mouski, with deaf Tohami weighing the heavy sacks of flour and grain on old rusty scales. And me listening unaware to the birds' chirped warning on the beams of your ceiling: "Wandering Jew, open your Jewish eyes, you will soon have to spread your wings again, and look for new nest." Mighty Dagon's giant arms storing in bulk, fill my own silo with tears that you are not here with me to view this wonder deftly handling bread to Israel - the land you so loved but are not buried in. For you dear father, I plant today a garden of grain, for you, who always taught us how to sow. Arab Israeli Student on T.V. You ponder hard in front of hesitating microphone, Your eyebrows arch puzzlement over the screen. Nuances of troubled expression on your handsome Semitic face, Crack and recrack every query in the air: "Do I really feel at home here? And if I do, do they feel I feel at home here, Am at home here? Do I feel an Israeli Arab? Or an Arab Israeli? Or a Palestinian? Or all of these? (Or none of these?)" Suddenly the answer blurts out like a raven in flight Escaping its dark cage: "I have no identity!" The raven flies straight into my eyes with claws and beak. And I remember my own rootless wound In Egypt land - And I hurt your dangling hurt, My Semitic cousin in pain. The questions stir Nile and Jordan visions Flowing intense churning - "And if a Palestinian State is founded Would you go and live there? Would you feel better?" Again the puckered brows locked, Strained jaw-muscles, glowing sorrowful eyes. Then gently, like a dove swooping On its way to peaceful green woods: "My home is in Galilee. But I would feel better if there were a Palestinian State, For then my Arab brothers would not fight The land I live in - Any more." Reconciliation: Sulha Pomegranate Why doesn't Israel explain this more - that you too and a million other Jews of Arab Lands like you, had to spread their wings wide and flee too? But why do you want Israel to explain this more? What is it to you? Let's open the pomegranate? For me it is the saving face of Sulha1 The uncovering of the black veil on the face of Amina, the truthful, the just It shows we're not the only underdogs, for tragedy, as in all wars, you see, was on both sides! It makes it easier to pave the Sulha path, you see not that two tragedies cancel one another but it makes it an easier burden to bear over our heads, when we know the other has already paid for the Sulha long before it all, all began ... wait, don't cut the pomegranate yet. Now I can identify with you my cousin in pain and you can identify with me - my Middle Eastern friend, cousin and mutual victim in pain. Now, let's open the Sulha Pomegranate. *** *Sulha: Reconciliation, in Arabic. If a White Horse from Jerusalem If a white horse from golden Jerusalem, bearing a message from the land of global peace strides so valiantly in the early dawn hours of my own street, as if it were the ocean as if it were the bright blue sky - then all is possible Perhaps, he has come with a magic to make all chains of weapons vanish, and to make you fly with me. Perhaps, before my hair falls my teeth clatter, before my breath whistles and I suffocate in the infamous nuclear fumes of a nuclear winter. Perhaps, he will lift us on his white wings and raise the world to year 2000 beyond wars, for if a white horse from the land of global peace, strides so valiantly in my own street - as if it were the ocean, as if were the sky Then all is possible... Grandmother and the Wolf Dedicated to Ebba Haslund from Norway She looked at me with wise bluebell eyes and told me the brothers Grimm had it all wrong, they had it all wrong, you see, for it was the grandmother who gobbled up the big bad wolf and not the other way round. They had it all wrong, they were too grim, those brothers Grimm, they had it all wrong, for grandmothers you see are very strong.
Earth Day We did not know we were all rooted sunflowers, with falling seeds on deadly land-mines-- nuclear waste disposal in leaking metal cases, contaminating our groundwater in our front and back garden, hidden under the compost pile. We did not know, because they never told us. They stole stealthily in the dark and dumped their radiation and destruction in our front and backyard-- without even asking our permission. They knew we would not give it anyway, so they carefully covered the compost pile with grass clippings and green leaves, thinking, those drowsy sunflowers only turn their heads to the sun, and will never notice. I'm tired of watching the sunshine when fire is burning under my roots. Mothers You Know "We can best help you to prevent war not by repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new
methods." Virginia Woolf Three Guineas Mothers you know, a long time ago have been wisely decreed by diverse human creeds and needs - goddesses of peace-in-the-home, lavishly giving life, love and healing through their wombs and life-blood And they have been quite successful those cosy peace-in-the-home mothers, closely guarding us with their wisdom their tender words and watchful eyes. Surely safer than in a Nuclear War or in a new World War, or just a tiny war, so what about making mothers the guardians of peace on earth? Surely we wouldn't be so much worse? And they are so available those mothers - you can even find them in enemy land... Look at the terrible mess they have made of our blue planet, mother, you are the only one who can save us now, the only one who really knows how to protect your fearful children weeping over their drugged ailing world, the only one who can heal it now, mother cradling it in your warm, loving arms. Teddy Bears for Guns My man of the year Is the wonderful, wise one Who sat himself in the midst Of the West with a huge box Of chubby Teddy Bears On New Year's Day, Attracting an endless Queue of cheering kids - Holding guns He playfully showed With a smile and a wink And a Teddy Bear hug - It could be the beginning Of a honey-laden decade In a brave new world By wisely trading Guns For Teddy Bears. Peace Is A Woman and a Mother How do you know peace is a woman? I know, for I met her yesterday on my winding way to the world's fare. She had such a sorrowful face just like a golden flower faded before her prime. I asked her why she was so sad? She told me her baby was killed in Auschwitz, her daughter in Hiroshima and her sons in Vietnam, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya. All the rest of her children, she said, are on the nuclear black-list of the dead , all the rest, unless the whole world understands -- that peace is a woman A thousand candles then lit in her starry eyes, and I saw -- Peace is indeed a pregnant woman, Peace is a mother. The More Interesting Life Come closer sisters hear the man and what he sang about us. At twelve, a sharp bayonet fear jabbing through my ribs tickled my mind. You are a male, you will have to go to war, you may be killed. Shrieking shells and giant mushrooms flying filled my blazing nightfalls. I looked at the lively girls, envy nibbling, they will not go to war, they will not be killed. But suddenly a flash - a vision of kitchen sinks drying of dishes with feminine hair, a life of soiled diapers . . . The bayonet externalized, I held it with firm fist and nodded reassured. But I shall have the more interesting life. That's it sisters, that's what he sang, what he sang about us, What do we do now with what he sang, What he sang about us? From Haifa to Near Faraway Cairo I recall the velvet sugar-cane juice we drank together with the smooth blue air under the open skies, the sunflower seeds we cracked together with jokes echoing laughter in the sun. How sweet the roasted sweet-potatoes were in those rainbow days of pretty sugar dolls. But unlike you dear Kadreya, Friend of my sunny schooldays, I was told that I was just a visiting guest though born in the land of the Nile. Ordered by Egypt my Jewish wings to spread to search for a new nest, I have found it on Mount Carmel and here I mean to stay. My foremost wish today is our soldier sons to bathe in the peaceful rays their mothers wove when younger than they in the near faraway rainbow days.
A Bridge of Peace "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and none shall make them afraid." (Micah, 4, 4). My Arab sister, Let us build a sturdy bridge Form your olive world to mine, From my orange world to yours, Above the boiling pain Of acid rain prejudice - And hold human hands high Full of free stars Of twinkling peace I do not want to be your oppressor You do not want to be my oppressor, Or your jailer Or my jailer, We do not want to make each other afraid Under our vines And under our fig trees Blossoming on a silvered horizon Above the bruising and the bleeding Of Poison gases and scuds. So, my Arab sister, Let us build a bridge of Jasmine understanding Where each shall sit with her baby Under her vine and under her fig tree - And none shall make them afraid AND NONE SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID.
My House I was a pale ivory tower, surrounded by white marble slabs until you came into my house You deftly climbed my hidden stairs gently pushed open by secret windows, alighting upon vaulted mosaic my curves smoothly answered your precise angles. I offered you my heart as fireplace, my hands as gloves to keep you warm, my ears as vessels for your words Laying the lozenges of your life on my hearth you lit my fireplace filled me with warmth, lonely tower became cosy home. I am glad you came to inhabit me before our summer is spent, before we tumble down in the mighty tornado of a nuclear winter.
Cosmic Woman They tell us you were first born in warm ocean womb caressed by sun fingers - daughter perhaps of the stormy love of two unruly atoms maddened by the solitude of eternal rounds in the steppes of times And your children, lively descendants of their stellar nucleus mother dropped from the sky in depths of ocean belly, born of green and brown seaweed and the laughs and cries of a blue bacteria Cosmic woman, when you chose earth as home for your vast roots at the beginning of the great human family, it was for life -- not for death. Cosmic woman, you, who were born of the nucleus, from deadly nuclear mushroom Save your children SAVE YOUR CHILDREN. Killing Me Softly "If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that unless
we rid ourselves of our nuclear arsenals a holocaust not only might occur
but will occur if not today, then tomorrow ... We have come to live on borrowed time." Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth We wise grown-ups often advise our children "Stop fighting, you will hurt each other," then calmly proceed to annihilate one another. We breed black widows with red eyes in our labs. War is eternal, you say. Listen, my brother, War's second cousin, "duelling," was once sung immortal, the peak of honor and reason - yet has been banished from our world and is no more. Slavery redeemed eternal, and is no more. And so much more, like killing me softly with your guns and scuds Does a lioness devour her cubs? Does a gardener destroy his buds? Let's awake and change our absurd "nuclear deterrence song", for now we know, in a nuclear war, or any war, there are no winners any more. We breed black widows with red eyes in our labs. Let's remember in our canines in the blood of our temples in a nuclear war or any small war, there ar no winners anymore, and throw War quickly in the historic dirt-bin it deserves, Let's not leave this terrible legacy to our chikldren in the twenty-first century, Let's save cubs and buds before the fall, or in the nuclear pit we'll all fall.
You Cannot Bomb Me Anymore Listen, little big man, you cannot bomb me anymore because I don't allow you to bomb me anymore nor to choke nor rape me anymore, for I have my own strength now and my own creative peace business now With this woman's mind this woman's body this woman's heart - we don't allow you to bomb us anymore for our sisters in Norway have shown us the way and now - you cannot, cannot, cananot bomb us anymore. For it was the grandmother who ate the big bad wolf and not the other way round -- so now we will not allow you to bomb us, bomb us, ANYMORE.
Palm Curve Cuddled in the heart of your hand, soft hand, warm hand, I do not feel the meaningless drops of life drizzling, do not hear its jackal-thunder nor see its lynx-lightning in the dark. And if the world should burst tonight in a giant mushroom flame, I would not notice - Snuggled in the nook of your gentle palm where I belong, it seems I may exist forever. We are all alike - gently dozing in the nook and the noose of borrowed nuclear time. In celebration of the saving of Jews by Turkey during the Inquisition
500 Years Ago In Toledo, 500 years ago my great, great, great, great, great grandmother Regina, fleeing the Inquisition's torture wheels poured her Spanish tears into heart of velvet black veil and sailed over the crimson waves with thousands of sisters and brothers to Izmir, to Izmir She had to leave behind her beloved illuminating poems, her ancient Bible and painted Haggada, her father's illustrious scientific parchments - her whole Spanish Golden Age floating on Golden Fleece as she sailed with the stars on purple waves to Izmir, to Izmir The bird stopped flying - "El Pasharo vola" the heart stopped crying - "El Koarasson yora" as it preened its traumatic feathers and nestled cosily on quaint warm roofs in the new Turkish mosaic haven lavished by filigree hospitality sheltering a new hope in Regina's amber eyes on the azure, silvery shores of Izmir, of Izmir Suddenly Regina's beautiful, noble figure stands majestically before me whispering a Ladino message: "What we should be celebrating today is the saving of a quarter of a million of our brothers and sisters 500 years ago by brave Turkey, and not their cruel expulsion by Spain..." I listen closely then nod vivaciously. Now Regina smiles again and flies straight to the wide open gates of Izmir, of Izmir on the way to upper Jerusalem's peaceful Golden Gates. What is Peace to Me? Peace for me is a flowing golden river, students fresh from school with minds full of pockets of hope Not after they witnessed their friends' brains blown white veined on the sands, still thinking. Peace for me is to visit Kadreya in Egypt, and the spicy house in Midan Ismaileya in Cairo now the Square of Freedom, where I was born, and evicted. To place again my open palm on the Sphinx's paw, and check if now I'm as tall as a Pyramid stone. Peace for me is all this, and so much more -- when I look at you our golden children and feel the fifth war pinching the center of my heart.
Unicorn in Manhattan's Cloisters To my friends Tahita and Ralph and to the memory of Ralph, who introduced me to the magnificent unicorn. In the Metropolitan Museum, I watch you white unicorn in the arms of forests trailed and ambushed in all green places by well-known intriguing eyes flashing odious machinations from your century to mine -- witness of Belsen's human-skin lampshades. I shudder under your limpid betrayed eye tear-dewing my flesh. The sharp long-nosed lances treacherously piercing your snowy flanks -- burrow my bones, as you desperately raise your front legs and our uni-corn to freedom from the piranha. I drown in the eely tentacles of your wound. I know what it is to be a betrayed unicorn. May, 1976 A Bicentennial Visit to Plymouth Plantation We walk around modest wooden houses in the New World fencing old bearded goats. 'Godly and sober' pilgrims in colored bonnets and garters saunter work (almost) as in pilgrim past. A laced minute-man blows an ancient cannon like an ancient horn. Flash. Is it possible this great nation sprouted from this grain of colony just two short hundred years ago? New York's skyscrapers, Boston's universities, Million American hopes on San Francisco's golden bridge -- it all began here, in this tiny Mayflower spot on Plymouth Rock! The magic of it, the stupendous feat in a mere Bicentennial breathes unbound hope -- Now Israel, all is possible... Wilfred Owen: We Are Still Deaf Dear Wilfred Owen you sang you warned you died and we are still deaf. Our sons' teeth are still for laughing round an apple, yet now we tie not only bayonet-blades to them but also super Super Sams. Their trembling limbs are not only knife-skewed nowadays but Napalm-roasted beyond recognition - we have come a long way in the killing game. Wilfred Owen, you shouted: the absurdity of war the pity of war! and we are still deaf. Yet your poems tolling loud for those who still die as cattle, roaring loud against deaf drums - are white flags waving: The day will come before time falls from the clock, when war will be a demoded anachronism Wilfred Owen, you sang, you warned, you cried, you died, and we are still deaf, so deaf, stupidly, stupidly deaf. Sound of Peace Shalom 2000 Ships hoot from Haifa port, sounds of peace leap up to me from every jewel in the mountain's crown, while the "Good Fence" on Lebanon's border winks to me reassuringly in the horizon. 1995 leans over me and enlaces my arm, but it is towards year 2000 I turn and give a long peace kiss.
To an Egyptian Soldier Dedicated to the Egyptian Pilot who appeared on Israeli television during the Yom Kippur War, October 1973 I saw you on television last night bewildered in our land, your eyes were dim and you mumbled under your shield: "I want to go back to my young wife and four-year-old son." And I wanted to tell you Egyptian soldier, I know that this time you did not run away because they told you this land is yours clutch it back with firm hand. Yet tonight, under Israeli skies you ask yourself: "Why am I here and not with my young wife and child?" You see, Egyptian soldier, you will always have your Nile and your bed to turn to, but if we lose there's only the sea. I hope you go back to your wife and four-year-old son soon, and our fathers come back to theirs, this time, after a quarter of a century of strife with the long longed-for trophy of peace.
In Memory of My Uncle Jacques Bohemian laughter and moustache Mustard tan, mustered life With one arm Villa in flowered Doki with monkey and pool golden fish -- Dark musty hole in Paris crowning six creaky flights Broad jokes crackled next to the stove -- on the stove coffee and magnitude. Life is a hoax he laughingly confided, roam it in open car with or without coin or hole in pocket From Green Island to Rome Before you leave home. With one arm -- not one leg. The bubble of life burst with the leg he roams no more. But warm laughter and chuckled joke Ring and roam. The Sapling of Peace (On the occasion of the Geneva Convention, 17 December 1973) The mothers bore children, The children had to go to war. In October, children ceased to be; End of October, the fire ceased. The distraught mothers and fathers And what was left of their children, Could do naught in their scorching sorrow But plant, a frail sapling In the desert sand Under the burnt skeleton of tanks Fringed with human limbs No shade or crutch could help. The sapling was carried to Geneva By sure hands. Was watered by the blue lake, By the Bible and the Koran, And by the wise Tagore Who sang of love. Despite its desert origins: The years of passion and fire Inflaming the thorns of anger and despair, It sprouted tiny green leaves With amazing patterns of kaleidoscopic dewdrops Of peace.
The Snake on the Watermelon Skin My seabound leg through the ladder window Was suddenly pinned to mid air by the piercing pin-glitter of A beady charcoal eye! In Camp Caesar under Alexandria's blue skies A hieroglyphic presence on a watermelon skin crippled the paralysed stillness I did not cry, I did not recoil, but gaped transfixed Afraid to tremble, lest I disturb the mystery of our silent tryst. He watched from every brown lop of his long-lithe body While his face breathed back on me breath for breath Overpowering my frozen blood Then I knew! I knew that he existed! He ominously hissed on my mind that he was there And would always be there lurking darkly in my backyard Ambushing my descent from the ladder To dart his calculated spring. "Watermelon skins draw snakes," Old Fatima reiterated, Wobbling her white head wisely. But deep inside me I knew that if I removed the skin He would still come back. So, I said nothing There in Cleopatra's Alexandria But buried my hypnotising secret Under giant roots of silences Where I myself Feared to peep. Abdul's Children Abdul's Children Will not know more Than Abdul does, for Abdul's children Are not taught more Than Abdul was. Benevolent Ladies -- Stuff your ears With cocktail parties Your noses with caviar, With Champagne your eyes -- Then no more sighs, You will not hear Nor smell nor see Their illiterate Cries. Breathing I wish to breathe All my fill All my depth Full my lungs All the time, Not in gasps That make me reel All the more When breath fades In arrest. A faint shallow wisp Self-taught to hide In a young Choking throat Pricked by words Piercing looks, Stealthily gliding In and out Half a lung, Fearful of being heard By the outside world. I yearn to breathe All my fill In great gulps Through all my cells All my branches All my life...
To A Soldier I howled before the dawn appeared, the restless bed creaked in fear beneath my banging shoulder, while the pit in my throat grew and grew like a yawning crater. Since you were clutched away to the War - the sun is black sand. Bombs in black sackcloth float under my breath exploding it, making a choking icicle of me. Before the night dies again on my lips, flash a sign from there my love, make a sign of life - so that I can live - ending howls in sounds of peace. This Cursed War From An Israeli Soldier's Yom Kippur War Diary, October 1973. The night creeps along, funeral throng darkens. Memories rush and flood blood. Blossoming list of dead thumps fire. Every name pins mind with whizzing missiles, Cursed, cursed war In jeep on Golan Heights, loneliest I have ever been, I watch skeletons of tanks, crowned with names of friends., Sinister row, black graves, fresh bodies - old smell. Cursed, cursed war It doesn't look at all like wars in films this war, Here we do not get a chance to shoot, or wave a flag, Shrieking shells, hyena lightning pour on us, and we run backwards or forwards or to the side, And some are saved and some are not, Not all, not always; but always cursing This cursed, cursed war In an English centurion holding Belgian guns, We watch two American-made airplanes Shot down by Russian-made missiles. I cannot hate the Syrian on the other side Who holds a French gun and shoots Soviet Sams; We are toy soldiers of shopkeepers Who want to sell - selling us, in this Cursed, cursed war God, let it stop, let it end, Let the nightmare end! Cursing is the only shelter We can creep into, not to crumble Before thoughts in the dark. Cursed are those who force me to be here Cursed be this cursed war!
Remember Me Every Time The Moon Rises Over the Sphinx From an Egyptian soldier's diary found in the Sinai, after the Yom Kippur War (October 1973) Dear Leila, to you my love I breathe my last letter. I love you in all the ways love means Remember me every time the sun sets over the Pyramids and the moon rises over the Sphinx Today marks the ninth year of my enrolling at the cursed military college. If I knew then to what bitter thorns it would lead me - the college would have never seen my face. I loathe the hours a man goes through while waiting for death. Remember me every time the sun sets over the Pyramids and the moon rises over the Sphinx I really believed what we were told, that we, would never begin a war - but we have been ordered to cross the Suez Canal, and my blood, my bones know I have a few more hours to live. I will fight and die for Allah and Egypt - when what I want is to live for you, my Leila, loving you all my life, my Leila, my life.
In Darkness By Amir Gilboa Translated to English from Hebrew, by Ada Aharoni If they show me a stone And I say stone, they say stone. If they show me wood And I say wood, they say wood. But if they show me blood And I say blood, they say paint. IF THEY SHOW ME BLOOD AND I SAY BLOOD THEY SAY PAINT. The late Amir Gilboa, born in the Ukraine in 1917, came to Palestine in 1937 and became one of Israel's most important soul poets.
I Opened the Door Amir Gilboa I opened my door and many, many crowded to come in. I therefore pushed back the walls of my room to welcome all my guests. And my room became the home of my friends and my room became the world. Who Did Everything On Time? Amir Gilboa Who did everything on time? N either did I. Not even after time. And all the present time melted In flashes of liquid moments. With me Even the highest mountains liquefy.
Translated by Ada Aharoni
On Yom Kippur by Yehuda Amichai On Yom Kippur in the year Tashkah, I work dark festive clothes and ambled to the old quarter in Jerusalem. I stood a long time before an Arab's nook-shop not far from the Gate of Shechem, a shop of buttons and zippers and rolls of thread of all colors, and tie-tacs and buckles. A bright light shone forth with many colors, like an open tabernacle. I told him in my heart that my father too had a shop like his of threads and buttons. I explained to him in my heart about all the decades of years and the causes and the events, that I am now here and my father's shop is burnt there and he is buried here. When I finished it was closing time. He too pulled the blind and locked the gate. And I went back home with all those who went to pray.
Translated by Ada Aharoni Seaweed "The bombs are not the cause of the problem, but only the symptoms
of the deranged thought processes of man's mind..." Helen Caldicott I grapple with the edge of the taste of seaweed and bombs You have kept your underground river away from me, preferred filling your pockets with pebble-bombs and seaweed silence. You knew of your thirst and my river longings - yet not enough empathy for surging waves not enough to break away from absurd deterrence reasoning and send it flying, there's no cold war anymore. My fears refuse to stay in port, they fling pebble-bombs and brown seaweeds like drowned hearts full in my face.
Trigger Fingers "What passing-bells for those who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns...." Wilfred Owen They met at right angles of a white marble tomb, then off again on spirals of darkness and sorrow, he with his deft trigger fingers on guns and canons, she with her green fingers on chrystanthemums. I'm moved you remembered -- his cartridges in the air. How could I forget? Her words of earth, sprinkled on the tomp where their soldier son was buried, and was buried.
Take Us To Free Soweto Dedicated to the African Black Poets I met in Johannesburg, at the American Embassy. "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those cold and are not clothed." Dwight D. Eisenhower Lady from Tel-Aviv, lady from Tel-Aviv, now that we've read together, now that we've cried together, please take us back to Soweto, with our poems "abalonga goddam" full of cried of crippled children full of anger wrapped in pain -- please take us back to Soweto If I only could, would have taken you not only to Soweto -- but to where the leaves' free rustle roams, where poems grow ripe before they grow hoarse. But then, I'm not even from Tel-Aviv, I'm only from Haifa -- and have no car to take you to the leaves' free rustle, or to Soweto
Johannesburg, May, 1977
Dedicated to President Nelson Mandela Africa Sings Freedom Written on the occasion of the abolishment of Apartheid. Inevitable pregnancy - freedom at last in the heart of South Africa's scorched placenta in the heart of South Africa's smooth deep full throat, a free song triumphs. Joyous volcanic sounds burst out at last loud and clear - Africa sings triumphantly flying fire-blown icons touch golden disc exploding into million blooming proteas painted in fresh free rainbow sounds and colors placed joyfully on Apartheid's grave Nelson Mandela washes away the lava-pain with a grave handshake and a proud raised forehead, and the sceptics who never believe thrust their leering deep down their own throats, while Africa joyously sings the song of FREEDOM.