“When you are young you say
Song of Songs and when you are old you say Ecclesiastes.”
                                                                                 Pirkei Avot

The time to depart is here.
Inevitable it is, as we learned already
from the Book of Genesis. I’m not complaining.
In fact, I’ve been lucky.
I made it to old age in good health,
my mind still clear.
But I have no choice—I’ve got to go.

Now, at the absolute end, I recall
the ancient wise man who, about to die,
ordered a sacrifice to the god of health.
I never grasped his intent.
Was he giving thanks for the health he had,
or for being cured of the malady of life?

So, farewell my loved ones.
This time, sad to say and to my dismay,
we’ll not meet again on this, or any, day.
                                                                         H. E.

    With the accuracy of a scientist, a soulful sensitivity, and the wisdom of a Jewish scholar, Shlomo Vinner grasps the reality of Israeli life, and gives it a meaning absorbed from the depths of Jewish existence.

Wonderful, unique and inspirational poetry.

—Haim Be’er, Lifnei Hamakom

(Upon a Certain Place)

    Behind us/only the seaweed,” acclaimed Israel poet Shlomo Vinner writes in a memorial for a friend, “the crabs dead in the sand/can testify/how the sea took him.” The Melody Lingers is a book of grief, loss, beauty, desire and immense compassion. In even the quietest moments, “Not far from here/on the sea/the wind rests/ like the planes on the ground,”Vinner is able to suggest the unrest and the pain of a country—and of each citizen of that country— constantly on guard, constantly at war within its own borders and consciousness. The images in Vinner’s Selected Poems resonate like the melody of a truly unforgettable song.

—Jeff Friedman

Author of Floating Talesand Pretenders