one of the poet’s new(er) poems

The poem below, entitled “Arum dem refreyn”, “About that refrain”, is another one of Basman Ben-Haim’s musings on the nature of time. This is a subject that has preoccupied her over the years; this poem is only one of many of hers on that theme.

The poem has two sections. the first, entitled “About that refrain”, and given an א in the manuscript, is the general observation that events time do not (as the popular song would have us believe) roll away: they stay with us in our memory and are ever present in our psyches. The second section, entitled “The first painting” and given a ב in the manuscript, is a retelling of the first painting that Mula Ben-Haim, the poet’s late husband, made while the couple lived in Kibbutz Ha-Ma’apil.

The PDF you see here is what I received from the poet. It is a photo-copy of the hand-written original. Written in April of 2016,  it has not yet been published. The PDF below is followed by my English translation:

arum dem refreyn

About that Refrain


I remember the refrain of the song

“What was, was and is gone”.

And I don’t agree.

What was is with us still.

It’s there clothed differently

With a different face

In a different place

And yet in the depths

Of feelings and words

In the most concealed earth

The gentle touch infuses

As a drop of elixir does with life.

It encourages a step

And represses a tear.

In the deepest sense –

All that was

Still breathes in me.


The First Painting


I’ve just come from the field

I bring you a bunch of flowers

And you, brush in hand

Smooth over colors,

Preserve the sunset

In each flower –

I see how the flowers

Bloom once again in your hand

As though nothing at all

Ever vanished on land.

28.4. 2016


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