poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

My Mother Was a Prophet

My mother was a prophet and didn’t know it,
Not like Miriam the Prophetess dancing with cymbals and tambourines,
not like Deborah who sat under the palm tree and judged the people,
not like Hulda who foretold the future,
but my own private prophet, silent and stubborn.
I am obliged to fulfill everything she said
and I’m running out of lifetime.
My mother was a prophet when she taught me
the do’s and dont’s of everyday, paper verses
for one use only: You’ll be sorry,
you‘ll be exhausted, that will do you good, you‘ll feel
like a new person, you’ll really love it, you
won’t be able to, you won’t like that, you‘ll never manage
to close it, I knew you wouldn’t remember,nwouldn’t
forget give take rest, yes you can you can.
And when my mother died, all her little predictions came together
In one big prophecy that will last
until the Vision of the End of Days.

Continue reading this article…

Already a subscriber? Log in above to keep reading. Or subscribe now for immediate access to the complete digital and print editions, plus exclusive online access to Lilith's back issues.

Unexpected Feminist Poems, from the Hebrew

The articles in this special section:

My Mother Was a Prophet

poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

My Son Was Drafted

poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

“Unborn”

from Leviticus Rabba 14:8; translated by Shirley Kaufman with Galit Hasan-Rokem

To My Country

poetry by Rahel; translated by Robert Friend