Feature > Poetry
Chana Bloch

Chana Bloch

Chana Bloch is the author of four books of poems: The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty, and Blood Honey, and co-translator of the Song of Songs and The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai. The recipient of the 2012 Meringoff Poetry Awrd, she collaborated with Chana Kronfeld on translations of Amichai's Open Closed Open, and Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch.
Chana Kronfeld

Chana Kronfeld

Chana Kronfeld is Professor of Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature at U.C. Berkeley. Her latest book, The Full Severity of Compassion: The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai is forthcoming from Stanford University Press. The recipient of the Akavyahu Lifetime Achievement Award for her research on Hebrew and Yiddish poetry, she collaborated with Chana Bloch on translations of Amichai's Open Closed Open and Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch.

My Child is Fragrant with Peace (English Translation)

My child is fragrant with peace.                         
When I lean over him,
it's not just the scent of soap.                               

All the grownups were children once, fragrant with peace.      
(And all through the land, there's not a single
gristmill whose wheels still grind.)

O, land ripped up like clothes
that can never be mended.
Fathers hard and lonely even in the Caves of the Patriarchs.            
Silence bereft of children,

my child is fragrant with peace.
His mother's womb promised him
what even God Himself cannot
promise us.

Now in the Storm (1968)

My Child is Fragrant with Peace (Original Hebrew)

ילדי נודף שלום.
כשאני רכון מעליו,
זה לא רק ריח הסבון.

כל האנשים היו ילדים שנדפו שלום.
(ובכל הארץ לא נשאר
אף גלגל טחנה אחת שיסתובב.)

הו, הארץ הקרועה כבגדים
שאץ להם תקון.
אבות קשים ובודדים גם במערות המכפלה.
דממה חשוכת בנים,

ילדי נודף שלום.
רחם אמו הבטיחה לו
מה שאלהים אינו יכול
להבטיח לנו.
Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) the major Hebrew poet of Israel's Statehood Generation, is a literary figure of international stature, widely considered one of the great poets of our iime. His poetry has been translated into over forty languages, including Catalan, Estonian, Korean, Serbo-Croatian, and Vietnamese. English collections of his work include The Selected Poetry (trans. Chana Bloch & Stephen Mitchell), Open Closed Open (trans. Chana Bloch & Chana Kronfeld), and The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, ed. Robert Alter (forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014).

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