[The weak, forgotten, soft-hearted saint]

The weak, forgotten, soft-hearted saint

omitted from the list of saints in the scriptures

whose voice is not heard

who does not speak the language

(wherever he goes he does not speak the language)

whose aura is faded

whose feet sink in the stained snow

whose voice is not heard

who chokes on the coils of smoke

who shrinks, startled, as the bombs explode

who holds on to a scorched branch lest he falls

whose voice is not heard when he implores

for the little bodies for the souls

of the children of Mariupol

*Written and translated from Hebrew by Tal Nitzán

Tal Nitzán

3 Questions for Tal

What was your process for creating this work?

The poem was written as a result of my emotional involvement with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraina nowadays.

What is the significance of the form/genre you chose?

I often find poetry an efficient means of ethical expression.

What is the significance of the work to you?

The poem refers to the horrific atrocities committed in Ukraina, and children as the ultimate, most vulnerable & helpless victims.

Tal Nitzán is an Israeli award winning poet, novelist and a major translator of Hispanic literature. Recipient of a dozen literary prizes, among them the Women Writers’ Prize, the Culture Minister's Prizes for Beginning Poets and for Debut Book, the Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan University prizes for poetry, and the Prime Minister's Prize for writers, Nitzán has published seven poetry collections, two novels, a short stories collection and six children books, and edited three poetry anthologies. Her poems are widely translated and anthologized, and thirteen selections of her poetry were published in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian and Latvian. An ardent peace activist, Nitzán has edited the anthology ‘With an Iron pen’, Hebrew protest poetry against the Israeli occupation (subsequently published in English and French). Nitzán has translated to Hebrew circa 80 works of poetry and prose, mainly from Spanish, by authors such as Cervantes, Shakespeare, Neruda, García Lorca, Paz, García Márquez, Cortázar, Vargas Llosa, Bolaño, Toni Morrison, Edith Wharton, Ian McEwan, Aleksandar Hemon, Angela Carter. For her translations she won the Culture Minister Prize for translators (twice), the Tchernichovsky Award for exemplary translation, and an honorary medal from Chile’s president for her translations of Pablo Neruda. She is a founding editor at 'The Garage', the Israeli national library's online literary magazine.

Her poems have appeared in TAB Journal, Poetry International, Lyrikline, Transcript, Modern Poetry in Translation, Mantis, Habitus, Europe, Proa Italia, among others.

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