Oded Peled – Four Poems


I see a forest

I say: God,

Let me be bird-screech, wind in treetops

I see rain

And say: let me be clear and flowing

I see a mountain

I say: God,

Let me be a mountain


A voice spoke: do not fear

and again spoke: do not fear

raise your eyes to the hills

there a yellow bird awaits

there a yellow bird awaits

and she is rage and she is comfort

soft her plumage flint her beak, her lament

a breath of cloud


in the forest

under the pine, in the shade of the rock

(here, your hands spread like rock,

cupping fallen needles)

and I knew


under the tree

His face a cradle of flowers

     * from: Breath” (Cycle of Poems)


Worn-out horse

snorting steam

on the road from Warszava to Lodz

cold morning, Strikov (godforsaken


tired swan on frozen

stream and at the southern

exit, in shining glory,

an umbrella riding a bike through drizzling rain


He that blessed

He that blessed with withered sky

He that blessed with the broken grass the rock bending over its shadow

the road sown with fish bones He that blessed –

He that blessed with the wide-eyed glass with bent bones with the swastika

tattooed into the arm He that blessed –

He that blessed with the river swallowing its banks fading rye fields the flower

crucified in the window He that blessed –

He that blessed is Holy and Holy His name and I hold it not against Him – Here

I am and my breast bared my mind empty of pain and I forgive – I still forgive –

All poems translated by Aura Hammer and the author

ODED PELED is a poet, translator and editor. He was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1950. He studied Political Science and English Literature at Haifa University. Peled has published 16 volumes of poetry. He received The Minister of Education prize for translators [1990], the Prime Minister prize for Hebrew writers [1997, 2007], and the Arik Einstein prize for veteran artists [2016]. Aura Hammer was born in New York in 1957. She immigrated to Israel in 1973. She studied architecture at the Technion in Haifa and worked many years as an architect. Today she works as a sustainability educator and council circle facilitator.