The Arty Semite

Ronny Someck's 'Sun Sonnet'

By Jake Marmer

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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

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