For this year’s second ode to Lee Sang Woo, I thought that I would introduce you to a new poet whom I just discovered…yesterday at a school meeting, in fact! ” She was recently published in The New Yorker and her book of poetry, titled Trembling of the City, is set to hit the bookstores this March in its translated English version.
Shall we take a look at 2016’s second ode then? It’s a poem that celebrates what true friendship can look like in the midst of our otherwise daily tough world.
The poem below can be found here. I would highly recommend that you head over to The New Yorker link and listen to the poet herself read the poem…It simply leaves a person stunned by the beauty of her poetry and reading.
On Friendship (translated from the original Hebrew by Benjamin Balint)
If a friend calls out to you late at night from beneath your window
Never send him on his way. And if you’ve sent him away and still
Insist on rigid rules, regain your composure after a moment
And run to the window and shout his name: “Come, Merhav!
Come back! I’ve got some corn cooking! Come eat something.”
And he’ll placidly retrace his steps and gladly accept
The key you toss down from your window,
Will come upstairs to the first floor and will be impressed
By the large pictures on the walls.
He’ll sit and wait for you to slip into a clean shirt and you’ll put on
The movie in the kid’s room and your baby daughter
Will rush to the kitchen and come back with a red pepper for him.
He’ll decline the warm corn and say he’s already had dinner.
In the meantime your husband will chat with him about Tai Chi
And pour him a glass of cold sweet pineapple juice.
You’ll return to the living room
And go out to the balcony and light a cigarette and sip
A cold beer. You don’t yet realize
That this is a sublime moment in your life.
One of the most sublime you’ll ever know.