The light of Israeli women poets – Candle #4 – Yona Wallach
Yona Wollach is a mad woman, the cursed prophet of Hebrew poetry. The woman who wove her madness into a tapestry of words that presaged a great change in the Israeli public. This can be seen in the next poem – Yonatan.
The final line “Forgive us, we didn’t know you were like that” is directed at the older generation, with its hierarchy and expectations of what is masculine and feminine behavior.
This final line that ends the poem, raises many questions regarding what we do expect from someone who is “like that”. That they should behave differently when being beheaded? Wollach plays freely with the Biblical Jonathan, reminds us of the love of David and Jonathan, not only the story of the honey forest. Is this the reason for the beheading? The blood lust? And what is the gladiola doing there? Is it a guillotine? Or an aesthetic flower that beautifies the horrific crime that is taking place?
I dedicate the fourth candle to those women who were before their time.
I run on the bridge
and the children after me
Jonathan they call
a little blood
just a little blood to top off the honey
I agree to the pierce of a tack
but the children want
and they are children
and I am Jonathan
They lop off my head with a gladiola
stalk and gather my head
with two gladiola stalks and wrap
my head in rustling paper
Jonathan they say
forgive us really
we didn’t imagine you were like that
|© Translation: Linda Zisquit
From: Wild light
Publisher: Sheep Meadow Press, New York, 1997, 1-878818-54-6
|© 1966, Yona WallachFrom: Dvarim (Things)