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At the End

by Moshe Dor
Translated from Hebrew by
Barbara Goldberg

At the end of the summer solstice days begin
to grow shorter, and this happens at the height

of summer, when all the fruits of the garden
ripen, even the forbidden, and their juice

drips in the absence of plucking. And books
of wisdom become wiser and less easy

to interpret, and lost wars become even more lost
in caves of time, and caravans of camels

wander between reason and rashness as if
their drivers forgot where they set out from

and where they are going. At the end of summer
solstice nights begin getting longer and the woman

whose beauty is stamped on my eyes dozes
on the couch facing the flickering screen

while I do my best to live as intimately with pain
as I did with love and passion, and when the doctor

asks me whether I entertain terminal thoughts I
am momentarily embarrassed before categorically

denying it, not to mention the fact that winter solstice
is still far away, and the cold, and the dark.

Moshe Dor, born in Tel Aviv in 1932, is one of the most prominent poets in Israel. The author of forty books of poetry, essays, interviews and children’s books, a recipient of the Bialik Prize, Israel’s top literary award, and twice winner of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Award in Literature, he is former President of Israeli P.E.N., Counselor for Cultural Affairs in London, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at American University, Washington, D.C.
Barbara Goldberg’s most recent book, The Royal Baker’s Daughter (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008), received the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize. She and Moshe Dor have published numerous anthologies of contemporary Israeli poetry, including After the First Rain: Israeli Poems on War and Peace (1998). The recipient of two fellowships from the NEA, Goldberg is Visiting Writer in American University’s MFA program.