Monday, March 07, 2011

Poems after Relapse, in English Translation

In January I posted three Hebrew poems that Timora wrote after the relapse of her leukemia was diagnosed, as with the steady return of cancer's incomparable pain she began to lose some of her cherished independence.

As I wrote in my memoir, what stands out for me in Timora's poetry is her astounding ability to transform suffering into art. If you think about it, that is what all artists do, and Timora was a true artist.

Warning: The second and third of these poems are very difficult to read.

March 19, 1999
Don’t tell me,
I know by myself,
If I don’t do it
It doesn’t mean a thing,
Leave me.
Tell me,
Or I won’t succeed,
I won’t do it,
Help me.
Don’t decide for me,
I’m not a little girl,
I’m responsible for myself,
Leave me.
Protect me,
I’m scared like a little girl,
I can’t stand alone,
Help me.

April 11, 1999
spreading further and further
conquering every spot that had been free
Poisonous, black malicious
Snickering of devastation, of evil, of defenselessness, of some
dark power
Extending long and emaciated and terrible and destructive arms
that grow
like some horrible nightmare from which we’ve not awakened and we'll not
And twist and twist
and distort
and deform
and hold on
Hold fast by the nails Hold and do not let go Hold fast and wound
And if it does not bring death it will bring destruction of some other kind
Because there are no few kinds (to each his own destruction) Here it’s

April 20, 1999
A black cloud of razor-sharp claws.
They scratch deeply into my flesh
If I ask who sent them, and why to me,
They continue to pierce in silence.

A black cloud of claws that wound.
They’ve pulled me toward pain’s abyss
I cannot scream out how evil they are –
After all, does a claw have a heart?

A black cloud of claws that rip.
A claw has reached my core
And there it tears off strips of my soul
And, giggling, discards them in slime.

A black cloud of murderous claws.
They’ve pulled me toward the great Pit.
But I’ve stood up to them and continue to stand –
I’ve yet to give in to despair.

I've yet to give in to despair. There it is - Timora's resilience, in her own words.

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