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[Page 362]



[Page 377]

I Return

by Zalman Shazar

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

I return
Beleaguered by my pain…
It appears to me
As an heir of giants,
My oak – ragged
Which trembles in a storm
Bloodied and silent
And illuminated by suffering.

In orphaned stillness
Powerful silences encroach,
When they are torn
And their bodies are battered by the wind.

Those in love cautious –
Those I cherished and brought up![1]
Ridiculed and sullied
Vanished quickly.

Writhed naked, pensively
My oak, the ridiculed one,
Lacks branches? The root rots?
However, an heir for giants!
Bloodied, bowed,
Believing in itself, it twitches
And raises itself as a tower in a storm
As if with hope.

Tamuz 5722 [July 1962] – Between Moscow and Jerusalem

Translator's footnote
  1. Lamentations 2:22. Return


by Nakhman Flaksin

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

Angry Winds

Angry winds, strong storms
Blow now in my garden,
Destroy roses, destroy flowers
There in my old home.
Destroy flowers, old roots,
Shatter oaks, old orchards,
All the trees in the orchards
Fall, collapsed by storms.
And the dear, sweet spring
Is still long in arriving.
And meanwhile, the winds destroy
Roses and flowers in my garden.

The Steps of Moshiekh

I hear the steps of Moshiekh [redeemer] from afar,
Mosheikh is coming soon to redeem the Jews,
New, joyful times are coming –
Times of good fortune, of happiness and of peace.
On its own soil, own land,
A people becomes Israel, equal to everyone;
It will no longer know of injustice, of shame;
Justice and peace will flow there as a river.
Fairness and justice will reign over everything,
Truth and unity – a daily thing.
The individual will always care for the entire community,
Everyone will have a roof over their head.

Fate severed us, split us.
Divided us by language, ideas, parties,
Eretz–Yisroel will unite us,
Everyone as one will build the land.

All for one, one for all,
Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand,
In song will create and build
A Jewish land for the Jewish people.


Jewish Ships

Ships travel over the sea,
Ships not as before,
Blue–white Israeli flags
Wave on them.

Ships travel over the sea,
Ships large in number:
They carry Jews to join
The Jews in Israel.

The flag of Israel proudly waves
On all sides.
New times now are coming
From the old past!

Flags wave! Winds blow!
Carry my people to that shore,
For which my people searched and searched
For many years to find the way!

Sailors, hold fast to the helm there,
Do not let it out of your hand:
You now are carrying your own brothers
To their long–turbulent land!


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