Today marks ten years since the death of Dalia Ravikovitch, perhaps the greatest Hebrew women poet of all time. Her poetry has been translated into dozens of languages and is widely taught in Israeli schools.
Courageous and brilliant, Ravikovitch’s poems seem all too simple. At first glance.
Until you study them and peel away the layers of complexity and meaning contained within.
Her wit was subversive and challenging. And notwithstanding her forceful ideology, she was embraced by Israelis from across the political spectrum. She wrote about power, love, and politics. And throughout her writing there was a constant idea of escape, of longing for adventure and a connection to the land.
This poem, “Oxygen,” was dedicated to her son Ido:
A tiny lizard on the wall of your house, Ido,
that’s what I want to be….
No need to look for an emotional response.
I just want to be in your physical vicinity,
set down, unseen.
With no purpose,
enclosed in a space
where you inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale
We’re not talking about love, Ido
May her memory be for a blessing.
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