Riva Rubin Oct 23, 2008 23:41:01 GMT 2
Post by moira on Oct 23, 2008 23:41:01 GMT 2
MUSEUM PIECE for Ivan
Bindings of late summer
wrap my face – mildewed rags
I lie on pillows like fur
I spit from my lips
at five in the morning and
a yellow shirt on the line
jabs precise slices of sun
into my eyes through the slats
a crow rattles in the eucalyptus.
I sweat like a stone
exude the salt of stones
a crust of salpeter.
In the museum of my sleep
walking among silks and silver
I found my husband
he the long dead
husband of my youth
who whispers clay to me
beside the jewels and cloaks
the carved camel-bone studs
and the exquisite porcelain cat.
I will sit up and wail
I will shave my eyebrows
I will mourn
rubbing the dark from my eyes,
music hardly audible
one note flung over your shoulder
and allowed to melt in the dust
before you release another
to lure me.
cupping my hands to my ears,
tempting me to turn around
to the darkness softly at my back
to the silence full of sleeping
animals tired of the dance,
Into your snake laugh, whose rush I hear
only by silent and fastidious listening,
Past the stony rim of your lips
you hiss me in, to your snake warmth
fanged and safe.
MESSAGE FROM BRATSLAV
Pure delight –
his arm around the rabbinical ankles
cheek laid where the angel strikes –
dreaming at the rabbi’s feet.
His body a pond
moss-bitter, damp, cool and metallic.
The rabbi saying:
You reach holy places striding in spirit.
Canopies of trees,
eggshells under his heels, spinning
rings of light –laughing and sinking
with a look of pure delight
to my stone-smooth bed,
his smell damp and metallic, moss-cool and bitter.
Rabbi Nahman saying: To grow old is sinful
with a look of pure delight on his face
Biographical Note: Riva Rubin
Born in South Africa, has lived in Israel since 1963; holder of prestigious literary awards, including President of Israel Prize for Literature (1999). Writer of poetry, short fiction, articles, reviews of literature and art; literary and academic translator from Hebrew to English; editor; teacher. Published: Three collections of her poetry in English; three collections of her poetry translated to Hebrew by leading Israeli translators; poems and short stories in Israeli and international anthologies. Founding member and past chairperson of the Israel Association of Writers in English, past Executive Secretary of Israeli PEN Centre .