In My Bus­tan: Poems

Michal Mah­bgerefteh
  • Review
By – September 16, 2011
Bus­tan” can be trans­lat­ed as life, gar­den, or orchard. Many of Michal Mahbgerefteh’s poems are reflec­tions on Israel beyond sur­face appear­ances, as in Peace­ful Thoughts to My Sleep,” “…I want to walk in your bus­tan to the scent/​of the sweet lemon tree…My heart aches for/​your laugh­ter and spices, but tonight the/​cold sil­very skies brought a peace­ful thought/​to my sleep; your pres­ence is a beacon/​to my won­der­ing thoughts stir­ring formless/​beginnings full of strength and vig­or.” The read­er also per­ceives the anguish the author felt on watch­ing her moth­er die from can­cer and on con­sid­er­ing the agony of ter­ror­ism and war that Israel con­tin­ues to expe­ri­ence; but infus­ing these stark­er real­i­ties is a sen­si­tive, hope­ful vital­i­ty, as in Psalm for Peace,” which repeats the refrain, If I could only make the/​dark fall in love with the light.” The last sec­tion returns to the defin­ing iden­ti­ty of this very tal­ent­ed poet, Yuk- Hay-Vav-Hay,” “…When your name/​rests upon my lips/​sweetness enriches/​the edge of my soul/​letter by letter.”
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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