Friday, January 20, 2012

I Wish I'd Written This

Jewish-Australian Leah Kaminsky (a Melbourne girl) married an Israeli and lived with him in Haifa for 11 years, during which time their three children were born. Situations like that described in this poem eventually influenced them to resettle in Australia.

A poem for Alon on his eighth birthday

And so this is a poem for you
although you write it yourself
every day
when you look for your soccer ball
and kick it around the house
last month, you broke an antique plate

Holes in your socks
eyes on TV or computer screen
you know all the words of
Popeye and Pokemon
the jingles of every ad
you sing them out loud behind a closed toilet door

You turn eight
and ten years of Haifa sun
have burnt my eyes
another ten and you will carry a gun
I stare into your ocean eyes
they are too deep for a boy

I want to stop you now
keep you close, bound to me
watch you play Aussie Rules
delete from your lexicon
intifada, bomb shelter
gas mask, dead baby

for your birthday I would stop the sirens
that call the whole country to attention
drivers on the freeway, stand beside their cars
a minute’s silence
in memory of all the eighteen year old
soldiers killed

I will tie a ribbon around this poem
and put it in my drawer for ten years
then I will give you
a poem for Alon on his eighteenth birthday

from Stitching Things Together, Brisbane, Interactive Press, 2010. This volume of poetry is available in a Kindle edition, a Google ebook, and in print.


An award-winning writer, Leah is also a doctor in general practice. She has written and edited a number of books, both medical and literary, and sometimes both together in volumes of stories by medical doctors who are also writers. (And she is mother to three children. Wherever does she find the time for it all?) Details are on her website which will also lead you to some of her short prose writings and a couple of other poems, as well as an excerpt from a novel in progress.



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful. She is one talented woman!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh thanks for this, Rosemary. So incredibly moving. Glad she resettled to Australia and kept her kids alive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. a chronology, a way of seeing, a gift of sight

    stunning and blessed

    thank you, for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  4. powerful poem.A Palestinian mother would also share her sentiments, though perhaps with a different cast of characters.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes indeed, Abin. As a doctor working in Israel, Leah was well aware of the terrible effects of the situation there on citizens of various political and religious persuasions, and has written of that too, but mostly in prose.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I appreciate your responses to this poem.

    Yes, Sherry, her friends were glad she came back home, too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Exquisite ..... Heart-wrenching and brilliantly authentic. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a very powerful poem, thank you for posting it. I too wish I had written it.

    ReplyDelete