Yocheved Bat Miriam is unique among Hebrew language poets for holding the land of her birth and the land of her life in equal esteem. Born in Russia in 1901, she published her first book of poetry, Merahok (“From a distance”), in Palestine in 1929.
A critic has said of her work, “One always feels a vibrant tension between daring syntax and astonishing metaphorical leaps on the one hand, and artful, conservative prosody on the other.” Perhaps because her work is challenging, only two of her poems have been translated into English, including this from Cranes from the Threshold.
She stopped writing poetry after she lost her only son in the 1948 War of Independence, but later went on to be awarded the Brenner, Bialik and Israel prizes.
The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself, Ed. Burnshaw, Carmi, etc. al.
Poems Found in Translation (blog), A.Z. Foreman
Photo: “A meadow of cranes upon cranes!” Cranes flock to the Agmon HaHula reserve, Northern Israel. Credit: freeisraelphotos.com