The Arty Semite

Ronny Someck's 'Sun Sonnet'

By Jake Marmer

  • Print
  • Share Share

As shvitzing New Yorkers are glued to the weather forecast, tracking the minute movements (and long-awaited departure) of the heat wave, Israeli poet Ronny Someck divines a different sort of a forecast for us in his poem “Sun Sonnet.”

An Iraqi-born poet, Someck is a recipient of the Prime Minister Award and Yehuda Amichai Award, among other honors. His work has been translated into 39 languages, from Arabic to Yiddish, but in truth he himself is a translator par excellence, interpreting the notoriously difficult, rough, laconic and irony-clad Israeli psyche into neat lines of poetry.

However obsessed the country may be with news from the political arena, weather reports are far from moot. Given the perpetual shortage of water and decades of drought, rain and sun are reclaiming the mythic proportions they had thousands of years ago. In this poem, it is as if the sun gradually scorches the poem’s imagery, ripening it into a culminating burst of dry humor, both dark and hilarious.

Read “Sun Sonnet” after the jump:

Sun Sonnet

It will not rain today
and the earth’s lips like
a concubine’s lips
will not be moistened
by a stolen kiss.
Today the sun will come
to caress the feet of hills,
whisper at the tip of
a stalk a lullaby
for sleeping groundsel
and flake rust off
a command sign
on a wall of the
military camp
where my daughter
Today love will slide
like a banana down the
world’s throat
and its peel discarded
among the stars
will be patched above
my head
like a personal moon

Translated by Vivian Eden

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Weather, Ronny Someck, Poetry

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love.
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.