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About the Author

Hanoch Guy-Kaner spent his childhood and youth in Israel between orchards and fields. He is a bilingual poet in Hebrew and English and is an emeritus professor in Jewish and Hebrew literature in Temple University.

 

Hanoch taught poetry and mentoring at the Musehouse Center. He has published poetry in Genre, Poetry Newsletter, Voices Israel, the International Journal of Genocide Studies, Poetry Motel, and Visions International. He has published his poetry in the United States, England, Wales, and Israel. He won an award in poetica. He has also won an award in the Mad Poets Society on 2007.

 

Hanoch is the author of the following:

 

The Road toTimbuktu—Travel Poems

Terra Treblinka—Poems of the Holocaust

We Pass Each Other on the Stairs: 120 Imaginary and Real Encounters

Sirocco: Poems of Israel and Palestine
 


From The Road to Timbuktu

 
Newfoundland
 
Sailing on the ferry to Port Aux Basque.
Grey and red foxes run across the Trans Canada Highway.
Chasing long eared rabbits.
Gannets flights of grace above Cape St. Mary
Others floating flawlessly above the sheep
Wrapped in fog and mystery.
Fascinated a lone hiker fixes his gaze on a single gannet
Suspended in air.
Gentle waterfalls spread their jewels in
Western Brook pond.
Flints fly while caribou herds flee south from ferocious parasite black flies.
Fierce fighting between Vikings and Mic Mac indians defending their Vin land.
Frenchmen feud Englishmen on Ferryland.
Billions of caplin run ashore to spawn
Pursued by groundfish , feasting Atlantic Puffins and dolphins.
Swallowtail butterflies sparkle over Bishop falls
and the Bay of Exploits.
 
Guards
 
In Marienbad or somewhere else,
figures in blue haloes
stroll in misty gardens,
grasses soar to windows,
an old man dozes on
a pallid treetop,
dolphins murmur in ponds of glass
and butlers stand like
lions’ stone heads.
  

From Terra Treblinka

 
Eyes

For: Ann Weiss
 
Eyes from the ashes
collecting dust on shelves
in rusting locked sheds in Poland.
Eyes from the ashes forgotten
for decades
on snowy peaks of the Carpathian mountains.
Collected meticulously in post-war archives.
Classified by diameter and focus.
Eyes from the ashes
wondering searching for other eyes
from the ashes in Europe’s streams and rivers,
analyzed by paleontologists in
rock fragments in river beds.
Eyeless ashes spreading
on fields,polluting the
German countryside.
Eyes alone piling up,
filling up
citadels of ancient cities.
Eyes alone floating in
the vacuum of the world.
Eyes without ashes
entombed
in the belly of the earth
which does not reject
even one of them.
 
Primo Levi wooden shoes
 
are my most treasured possession:
my precious life line and lucky charm,
my cracked wooden shoes.
They are still my comfort and
I am putting them on the windowsill so I
can look at them once more.
They are caked with mud,
filled with blood rings as an ancient tree,
my blisters peeled and stuck to them.
One of them is dark at the space of my missing toe.
This was my third pair
I was very lucky to get the second pair
after the first one fell into the latrine.
I traded my knife for them
and right then this gypsy took them.
Benjamin handed me this pair before he was taken away.
They are still my comfort.
I put them gently on the windowsill
before my suicide.
 

From We Pass Each Other On The Stairs

 
Owl Call
 
Come to bed,
Gail calls to Calvin,
light is on in the barn.
He rushes into the windy night,
under the swaying oak.
The barn’s workbench overturned.
Screws and nails scattered.
A boy sways from a noose hung from the rafters.
Open mouth. Foam-filled.
Calvin hears his eighth grade classmates whisper
about twins who found their parents
hung together from the deck.
The owl’s midnight call gets louder.
Raccoons shriek by the door.
Gail hisses,
it’s the man who stole stuff from our kitchen last week.
Torn t-shirt, muddy jeans, barefoot.
The nerve he has.
Calvin rights the table.
The body is removed. Gail throws out the noose.
Calvin sweeps the floor,
stubs his toe on the wheelbarrow and almost falls.
The owl call is hoarse.
  
Saul’s storm
 
Saul sent emissaries
to his fingertips and toes.
Messengers rushed
through the spinal cord
to 248 limbs,
365 sinews.
Alarms rang through
vibrated the length of the back.
My faithful,
I command you, beg, plead with you
to gather your exhausted powers,
orchestrate
a last electrical storm,
initiate lightning that
will set fires,
break all the windows
above the garden pond,
make it tremble.
 

From Sirocco and scorpions

 
Cardamom
 
My land has had it.
Learned the lesson
of God’s curse of Cain.

It spits spilled blood over the centuries,
throws up old grenades, rusty helmets,
nail-filled bombs,
opens deep ravines and dumps in tanks.
Rage is overflowing my land.
It invites back malaria-spreading mosquito swarms,
poisons its river,
piles up spiky mounds of ammunition on top of barbed wire,
asks the Mediterranean to send sands to cover it all.
The land commanded God to send forth
black scorpions, vipers, dragon lizards, thorns and thistles
to rule again over the ravines.
A barren, parched, slashed land
emitting smoky scents of pita bread and
strong coffee with cardamom.
 
Bedouin Graves
 
There are Bedouin graves
in the middle of dust clouds,
a fenceless graveyard,
uneven white stones, no inscriptions.
Only the Sheik Abu-Muamar’s blessings,
two or three bushes eaten
to the ground by sheep.
The dead do not complain,
they are content to leave their bones where they belong
and so are the sheep.
Only the wind raises spidery dust whirlpools,
graying the hazy sun.
A few Bedouin graves in the middle of nowhere,
a little mound,
the borderline of the Abu-Muamar
and Abu-Rbaia tribes,
who never had a neighbors’ feud
over this graveyard.
 

New poems

 
Carefree
 
Among the things I forget is
That the living go on
diminished every day by eights ,
getting away by leaps and bounds
from pursuing survivors.
Getting farther and farther
From fathers,mothers
and the divine
who abandoned them.
They do not grieve or sing
for themselves or their lost loves.

The living are reduced by halves
by fallen sons, ashen widows,
stroke stricken uncles.

The things I remember
are crowding me.
I sit by rusting gate
of the Jewish cemetery.
Low clouds cuddle
Erase gently all memories
and I have no care in the world.
 
Most popular attraction
 
In 2015 Aucshwitz
a most popular attraction
In the world*
Two million visitors
.half a million from Poland
out of curiosity

A quarter million Germans
Out of guilt .
Thousands of Israeli high school students
Forced to come
Took pictures, videos and selfies with
the infamous gate:
Arbeit macht fr
Emailed them home to lovers
And family
The crumbling barracks
Were most popular
Although
People complained
The camp was too grey
And too orderly
They came mostly in the summer
And outside the fences
Fields bloomed in yellow.