The light of Israeli women poets – Candle #3 – Zelda

December 19, 2014 by

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In honor of Friday – in honor of Shabbat eve, I choose the poetess Zelda to add some light for us.

Zelda (Shneurson-Mishkowsky) was a Chassidic poet, and accepted in the secular world. Her poems were first published by the United Kibbutz Publishers, in the days when they mainly published poets from kibbutzim connected to the working settlements.

The poem I have chosen distils the difficulty I feel every Friday. What does the sacred feel like? How can one usher in the Sabbath, the rest, the sacred, into a heart still full of quotidian concerns?

 

LIGHT A CANDLEner

Light a candle,
drink wine.
Softly the Sabbath has plucked
the sinking sun.
Slowly the Sabbath descends,
the rose of heaven in her hand.

How can the Sabbath
plant a huge and shining flower
in a blind and narrow heart?
How can the Sabbath
plant the bud of angels
in a heart of raving flesh?
Can the rose of immortality grow
in a generation enslaved
to destruction,
a generation enslaved
to death?

Light a candle!
Drink wine!
Slowly the Sabbath descends
and in her hand the flower,
and in her hand
the sinking sun.

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