Esther Shumiatcher Hirschbein
Sorrow clings to
Thin white cobwebs
Sounds of doves flutter in the wind
The earth's aroma sharp and full
Foliage fermented by sun
Perfume of lulov's palm and myrtle
Honey apples in trees
Green dreams rock the cedars
Igniting my imaginings
I close my eyes.
You've become my asylum, my get-away
I seek oblivion inside your gates, [End Page 40]
Hour after hour within your shadowy walls
I am here by a sickbed
for my wounded soul.
Every stream and
Hidden and in plain sight
Converge here in an end-of-life lament.
The final outburst
The last tear
A lover's death throes
Flesh ravenous for love
The nightly dew
of endless longing
Withered bones smolder here
Backs bent in wretched fever
A delirious mother signals
with her fingers
Moves her lips
Nostrils flared in prayer
Grief extinguished from her eyes
She only wants her two silent boys
To understand the wound inside her heart.
Do I come here to heal my soul?
To pinch my sorrow with someone else's screams? [End Page 42]
Woe to me and woe to them,
I gorge on disease's heartache
Inhale human agony
Cradle myself inside a sick one's bed.
Fate has bound me
To have compassion
I'd like to merge get rooted here
Spin my cry into the anguished shadows
Sister, brother, child and wife,
Don't hold a grudge blind fortune
I've armed myself with knives against you,
The unavoidable scream forced from me
Frantic, I've pounded
at your blind towers.
Ran wildly toward your flame—
Which has gone out . . .
Sunrays beam into the sickhouse
Red hibiscus bleeds through the window
Juts from the earth
Fresh, spring green
God, forgive my despair
Forgive my madness.
Take the sorrow from my blood
The vanished love of my days
The tear drenched nights
My feeble heart.
Bestow a hint of solace
Give my heartache wings. [End Page 44]