Autumn Sky Poetry - Number 1

There Are Those Who

There are those who count on their fingers
as if they were counting their dead,
and there are those whose friends constantly explode
with the whistle of the wind in their ears.
As if they kept coming and coming
from those fields, from the black
basalt stones.
And there are those who look up
now, to the cleansing sky,
and see thousands of mourners
whose tortured hearts
are also their own.
And there are those who sit
quietly on the drive,
touch their grimy necks
and are silent.

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Translated from the Hebrew by Cindy Eisner.

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Elisha Porat

Elisha Porat was born in 1938 to a family that was among the founders of kibbutz Ein Hahoresh in Emek Hefer, Israel. As a lifelong member of his kibbutz, Elisha has worked many years as a farmer as well as a writer. His labors in the kibbutz fruit orchard, perhaps contrasting with his military tours of duty, have always influenced his art. Besides writing, his current endeavors include editorial duties for several literary journals.

In 1996 Elisha was the winner of Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Literature. He has published 21 volumes of fiction and poetry, in Hebrew, since 1973. His works have appeared in translation in Israel, the United States, Canada, and England. The English translation of his short stories collection, The Messiah of LaGuardia, Mosaic Press, was released in 1997. The English translation of his second short story collection, Payback, was published in 2002 at Wind River Press. His new novel, Episode, a biographical novel, was just released by "Y&H" Publishers, Israel, 2006.

His works, both poetry and fiction, were translated from the Hebrew into the English, and were published, in print and online, in select literary stages. His works were published at Midstream, Tikkun, Ariel, War Literature and Arts, Rattle, Porcupine, Oyster Boy Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Boston Review, Snake Nation Review, The Paumanok Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Jewish Quarterly, and others.

Elisha has a page with more information at the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and his website can be found here.

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© 2006 Elisha Porat. All rights reserved. All copyrights to this poem remain the exclusive possession of Elisha Porat. This poem may not be reproduced without the permission of the poet and all requests for use should be made to the poet.