Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Sunday Poet: Helen Bar- Lev

Helen Bar Lev
Helen Bar-Lev was born in New York in 1942.   She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, has lived in Israel for 46 years and has held nearly 100 exhibitions of her landscape paintings, 33 of which were one-woman shows.  Her poems and artwork have appeared in numerous online and print anthologies.  Six poetry collections, all illustrated by Helen.  She is the Amy Kitchener senior poet laureate, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013 and is the recipient of the Homer European Medal for Poetry and Art 2016.  Helen is Assistant to the President of Voices Israel. She lives in Metulla, Israel.

Great Synagogue, Rome

Also a Full Moon

Here in Spain
there is also a full moon
and the hotel
celebrates our exodus
from the holyland
five long days ago
with dishes of calamari
and other sea fruit delicacies;
flamenco dancing
is an after-dinner delight

The full moon and I
eye each other,
he chastises me –
what you doing here
when you should be home
in your Jerusalem
and not in Spanish exile –
don’t you realize
how difficult it was
for the Lord to get you
out of Egypt,
that it was not easy
to move the earth
and the heavens,
to part waters,
and you in your gratitude
flee to Spain,
from which you were forced to exodus
five centuries ago,
to which your kin
were forbidden to return
by rabbinical proclamation,
and this whole land
screams it,
its history
repeats its stupidity
ad infinitum,
and to this country you come
for the convenience
of ignoring
the commemoration
of that other evil exodus
from Egypt
five centuries
plus three thousand
years ago,
before the fact of Jesus
entered any
contemporary imagination,
before Queen Isabella
raped the Americas,
expelled you Jews?  

You know this,
every molecule of you senses it
it has entered your blood stream,
your collective Jewish memory,
it explodes your emotions,
pellets your conscience
and here you thought
you would find
a peaceful vacation,
in this nation alien?

Go home! 
says the full moon,
I say,

© 4.2006 Helen Bar-Lev)
(A Poet's Haggadah, 2008)

No comments:

Post a Comment