Thursday, March 03, 2011

Last Poems of the Remission, in English Translation

Leukemia is an insidious disease, whose effects - both physical and emotional - last well beyond the disappearance of its malignant calling cards, the cancerous cells that fill the blood and keep it from fulfilling its life-giving duties. Even when the cancer seems to be gone, and its treatment seems to be over, its victims - especially, I think, its child victims - are left utterly changed by the experience, and often find themselves strangers to the "normal" world.

These are my translations of two of Timora's Hebrew poems that I posted in January. She wrote these in the last months of her remission, when she was worn down from trying, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to re-enter the life she'd left behind when she became ill.

November 30, 1997
And all
Has suddenly become gray,
All has faded,
All has darkened,
Now all that’s left is cold.
Bleary eyes
Are tired of wondering,
And for what,
Until when,
All is finished for me.

January 29, 1998
There’s a precious pearl hidden deep in my soul,
It awaits the arrival of he
Who has courage enough to dive into my soul,
And to gaze in my eyes, truly see.

For perhaps I am like a sea-shell from the deep,
Whose facade glitters not, nor intrigues
And whoever would thread it with filament fine
Needs a blade that’s especially keen.

Not a blade, but love that is tender and true
Will pry open this tightly-closed shell,
And although it seems hard, if only he’d try –
Only softness he’d find, smooth and still.

There’s a precious pearl hidden deep in my soul,
If you seek it, it’s right within reach.
But your eyes are shut tight and blind to the light,
They will never discern the true me.

There's little I can add to Timora's own eloquent words.


Martha said...

Achingly beautiful!

yaelli perlman said...

these words, raw yet eloquent are deeply moving

Susan (Sara) Avitzour said...

Thank you, Martha and Yaelli. It's a huge thing for me to know that the words Timora left behind continue to move and be meaningful to others.