Sensitive, susceptible, tender, and controlled are the words that come to mind when reading the beautiful poems of the renowned Israeli poet Ra’hel or Rachel, in the collection Flowers of Perhaps. “Tiny Joys” best exemplifies Ra’hel’s deep appreciation for life, using the fragile simile “Tiny joys, joys like a lizard’s tail:…” but penetrating further in a resounding chorus of “Everything blessed./A consoling music in everything,/in everything mysteries and hints — /and everything waiting for corals of beautiful words/to be strung by the imagination on its string.” Consider the poem “To my country,” in which she admits she has no heroic deeds or battles to bring to the glory of Israel but instead “…on the shores of the Jordan/my hands have planted a tree,/and my feet have made a pathway through your fields.” The sorrow of lost love and her own debilitating illness of multiple sclerosis are minimized by her quiet, realistic awareness that “I,/blessed by these showers/shall twist my way/between coffin cracks and up/through saturated clods/into the wide day,/to stare at the khamsin (hot desert wind)/with the eyes of grass and of flowers.” This is a heart-moving collection.
Flowers of Perhaps
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.
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