Last year, as the scorching summer set in, we offered our readers unexpected relief from the heat. Admittedly, it was more of an aesthetic, even darkly comic relief, rather than a physical one. It was Israeli poet Ronny Someck’s piece, “Sun Sonnet.”
This year we’re featuring another summer poem of Someck’s, “Rainmakers’ Vacation,” which, like “Sun Sonnet,” was translated from the Hebrew by Vivian Eden and first appeared in Haaretz.
Someck’s summer, as presented in this poem, is distinctly Mediterranean. Though surprise thunderstorms make appearances on our side of the ocean, they’re entirely out of the picture before the High Holy Days for Israelis, as they are for the poem’s young Italian woman sweating at a nameless café on a Trieste piazza. Yet, curiously, while the “Rainmaker” is on vacation, a dry spell does not truly reign, as images of moisture creep into the poem’s last few lines. The Italian girl’s lips are “wet,” and poem’s final word is “waves.” It is as if the Rainmaker is still there somehow, in the subconscious rather than out in the open. Here’s to sublimated rains and summer vacations!
in rain language
have not yet begun to stutter
in the cloud throat.
The thunder mouth is toothless
and lighting has not yet flicked
the spotlights on in the pupil
of the eye.
Until the stoves are lit,
sleeves will be rolled up on the arms of the sun,
another demonstration will erupt
in the clandestine curves of the girl
who in a Trieste piazza has wet
her lips with wine
and the summer will send gangsters
to repulse autumn’s gunmen
from the border of its waves.