by Admiel Kosman
We fastened ourselves to the holy texts
and witnessed wonders,
great was the city that lay before us
lights stretched like ornamental carpets
at night when we entered this cartoon city
within the holy texts
we saw this exquisite place,
spires, towers, gates, niches, stairways.
On the stairs the people of the city,
caricatures on parchment, emerged,
received us in friendship
with welcoming faces,
very much like ours.
Happily in their dream
they also dressed us fed us bread
and were so glad
to serve us, free, the living
waters from the stream.
From Ma ani yakhol/What I Can, 1995
Adapted from the Hebrew by the author with Lisa Katz.
Translator Lisa Katz is editor of the Israeli pages of the Rotterdam-based Poetry International Web. She is translator of Late Beauty (Tuvia Ruebner), Approaching You in English (Admiel Kosman) and Look There (Agi Mishol). She was a lecturer in literary translation at Hebrew University from 2001- 2010, and most recently at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Admiel Kosman is the author of nine books of poetry and the bilingual Hebrew-English selection, Approaching You in English, and four books on midrash, two of which have appeared in English: Men’s World and Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism. Kosman is professor of religious studies at Potsdam University, Germany, and academic director of the Geiger Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.