- Neve Shalom, September 2014
Under an olive tree in Neve Shalom it's impossibleto write "olive tree" without murdering some dove it's impossible to write"Neve Shalom" without entering into a war.It's impossible to say "I saw a prickly pear bush this morningon the way to meditation" without quarreling with the thornsthat words send beyond their stone walls, ours,whose olive tree is this and why is each leaf so significant, stuck in my mouthlike the bitter word of the war that I didn't start and I can't end.The war in my head rages also under the olive tree and the chirping birdsand the falling olives of September,a dark-green plastic chair, the grass, palm trees, the hills before me,the muffled sound of cars, the sparrow pausing near my feet,awe at the harmonies of shade over the lawn breathing around mein a tolerant rhythm as usual, the law of entwined trees,a hush like a distillation of Torah law.Friends sit sheltered by sheets of paper, pens buzz with thought,labor concealed in silence, determined that the world continue to turn on its axis.
I want to say more now about beauty:beauty is the six letters I'm writing now.Here a woman sits under the vine of her wordsand under the fig tree of this very moment, at the momentthat a ripe date severs from a palm tree and strikes the ground. [End Page 37]
Batsheva Dori-Carlier was born in Jerusalem to parents who had left Iraq in the 1950s. Her debut collection of poetry, Soul Search, translated by Lisa Katz, won the 2015 Helicon Ramy Ditzanny Prize for emerging authors. Her poem in Displaced Lives is about an international community, located midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa, that was established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel in the late 1970s to demonstrate that they could live together in peace.
Lisa Katz is a poet and translator from Hebrew of such books as Look There: New and Selected Poems by Agi Mishol, Approaching You in English by Admiel Kosman (with Shlomit Naim-Naor), and Late Beauty by Tuvia Ruebner (with Shahar Bram). Her other translations include Suddenly, the Sight of War: Violence and Nationalism in Hebrew Poetry in the 1940s by Hannan Hever. She is an editor of the Israeli pages of Poetry International Rotterdam.