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The Schmooze

POEM:’This City [Jerusalem]’

Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back

1 Bound on Her Boulders
Bound on her boulders a burnt offering
in flames trampled by light of the daily sacrifice
this teeming city, longing
in its walls within walls
scattered towers
thin outcries
grey wind of the olives
torn among the hills yearned-for city of wings
from her red thicket eternity
blossoming
imprisoned
in gates straying at day’s end
to open and open

She is marked by a branding-iron in the Angel’s black hand

2 Stones Want to Flow
Stones want to flow
The olive tree wants to be stone
Churches long to fly
A cloud sits on the Temple Mount
Suns wandered on her outskirts, became thorns
Wars passed through and became dreams
Shadows walk around with bright faces
Her silence is bells and bells
Her stones flow
The olive tree is stone

He who sleeps and his heart is awake knows how at night
this heavy city ascends to walk with the moon

3 Day Like Night Like
Day like night like
sunfire
like voiceless cries this city where
we live in a dream like sown lights
freezing the stones eternal stones
like rock-eternity this city
caves or homes like
ruins like gravel like unending wind-thin dust
as though we were here
day or night
as though voiceless as in a dream we were really
here wandering through this city remnants
of muted cries like a dark entryway an alley
sunken in the alley wait
wait don’t vanish just one moment one more moment like
Life

4 Quiet and Open Skies
Quiet and open skies
above a City God’s treasured possession
above a City that was God-possessed
above a City that was possessed
above a City that was
open and quiet skies

From “In the Illuminated Dark: Selected poems of Tuvia Ruebner” (Hebrew Union College Press, in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014)

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