VI. Currents


We are the watchers
watching the land disappear
feeling the soft throb the heat, the cold
the winds and ways of the wily moon and tide
and we watch all that came to rise
under the sun and air

We watch holding seeds, planting trees
seeing the earth dry
seeing the water swell, seeing the land unwell
alert at a hawks cry, watching a river die
an atavistic memory brought sweet by the branch of holly
scraping the window pane

We keep the trails of soft pine long stepped
know where the trees are stripped
send goodbyes, hear lullabies
harmonize, transcend and send
messages from our stations
our still seats we have found in this world
for the miracle of other eyes
to open.

                   —Susan Oleferuk



On my walk this morning,
the wind whispers
through the pines
its secrets
but the crows who gather
ahead around the deer carcass
ahead of me ignore it. Instead
they pick the exposed ribs
of the frozen
flesh and sinew, making a
meal even the eagles
won’t touch. Crows finish
what others begin.
And when a crow dies
theirs becomes
a model community of mourning,
a congregation of elders
who strut and pace and flutter
around the dead feathers,
the curled toes and beak
frozen in mid-caw.
I want to tell them
please take my hand
and bring me
into your community.
Teach me to live with less,
and be grateful for it.
Show me how to love
when love is so far away,
help me understand your
language so that
when I return from my walk
I might better understand mine.

                                               —Art Greve



On this earth of sadness we still
live. Not understanding each other
nor ourselves. Deceiving others
and ourselves. Outwitting others
and ourselves. Stealing. Exploiting. Angering one another
with naive, arrogant, blind self-righteousness.
Our shoes complacently trample the modest whiteness
of dandelion seeds.

On this earth of sadness we still
meet. Anger each other, fight, make truces,
deceive, cheat, steal, exploit and so forth.
On this earth of sadness dandelion seeds descend
in the wind of summer's end, pleading with us to do what is possible.

                                                                                                   —Hamutal Bar-Yosef
                                                                                                       tr. EC


Something like a quiet screech or howl is heard once every five minutes, when the threshing machine completes a turn and begins a new one. The taut rope is knotted around the neck of a young donkey. Determinedly, with a stubbornness born of despair, he strides forward, always forward, and arrives once every five minutes at the same spot, the same screeching. He is alone in the world. He knows that all the same something is happening: the old rope is wearing through. Slowly, slowly it is wearing through. One day, at noon, the rope snaps. The screeching stops. The donkey strides forward. He is outside. He breathes sea air. With a sudden jerk he beings to gallop forward, forward. He crosses fields, forests, hills, mountains. He arrives at the top of a black promontory. Far below lies the infinite blue sea.
The donkey stands on the promontory. He is alone in the world. He brays bitterly.

                                                                                                                     —Hamutal Bar-Yosef
                                                                                                                         tr. EC



It’s hard to believe, but five hundred years ago
people like us had slaves.
They lived in the house or in the courtyard like horses or cows.
Any slave who betrayed was hanged in the city square
after being dragged through the streets tied to a horse's tail,
And while he was still alive they opened his belly with a knife
and he saw his bowels gush over his thighs
for all to see.
Even in England such things were common
five hundred years ago, more or less.

That is how they will talk about wars and terrorist attacks
as a way of settling disputes or salvaging pride
after five hundred more years,
perhaps even less.

                             — Hamutal Bar-Yosef
                                  tr. EC



And the earth was waste and void
And my mother’s voice
Was calling my name.

She is distant, and changing—
Perfect in my eyes.
Till when.

Till the time comes to burst out,
Hurl stones, demand justice—
To sink into the sea, to sink …

The time to bow one’s head—
emerge dry—against and despite—
From the sea of troubles.

And the earth was waste and void.
And my mother’s voice
Was calling my name.

                                  —Eva Rotenberg
                                      tr. EC


For instance, this. Technically, we don't know. A planet may resemble ours: the how and the when

                                                                                                            why and the how, the how

and its aftermath. Subsiding, tide leaves presents of polished stones it worked so hard to

                                                                                                        accomplish, then throw

away. Seagulls signal bad weather, but they don't mean to. Voice of the immediate past is

                                                                                                                  distant, rocking

chair when its resting. Clouds another form of ash. We forget the mementos.

                                                                                                             —Philip Kobylarz




Delivered in a forest of truths
Occasional carvings on the bark
Trying to decipher the squirrel scamper marks
And from predecessors who too sought

The way out of the shafts of light
Arrows with false directions or valid clues
To insight. To dream is human, to assume

Is folly, the unconscious divulges, like
A stream in spring, melted obstacles
Part of the floe, sifting through it,

Joined by the crows whose collective
Caws provides further evidence that
All around is intelligence, our gracious


The dynamic formulae that ebb
And flow. We are students on this
Earth with a neutral collective destiny

Unless we return to tribal squabbles
With now nuclear consequences.
Chagall seemed to know. Fantasy combines

With color, faith, storytelling and vision
To include all in the dialogue that’s
Necessary to join the crows’ insights to
Those of scholars, the postal workers,

The physicians and the garbage handlers
Who see that in what we create, what’s
Discarded are the essentials to climbing
Jacob’s precarious rope ladder.

                                             —Michel Krug



How do you create a controversy of love?
You look at the infinite heavens
And build a ladder,
Which begins from the cracked earth and with each
Step up the rungs of the ladder
You see the controversy growing bigger and smaller at the same time
Till you arrive there
In the heavens
And the controversy turns into one more star
Lighting the sky
With a pale light.

                                       —Eka Meishar
                                           tr. EC


To Section VII