Because in the land of milk and honey
the almond trees bloom in January,
“The New Year for Trees,” Tu B’Shevat,
falls in the dead of winter for us.
So we feast on dried dates and raisins,
oranges and preserved citrons,
any fruit that can be bought or saved
for this holiday completely out of season.
Though when the cold is most bitter
and the days no longer than in November
the only revelation is the almond:
hard and brown, but richer
when ground down in the mouth
like two thousand European winters.
-Maia Evrona (first appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review)
Mourning Leonard Cohen....
You Olive Tree in the Night
You olive tree in the night and ladders to the stars on high,
shapes gravitate toward you step by step. You are cracked
like your home, the rocky ground, yet who is like You?
Every olive in your crown is the dewy pupil of an eye.
Shapes gravitate toward you, to your rigid branches,
from grass newly cut in a dream—they bring that scent.
And only the night remains limping and limping its silence
while you are wrestling to overcome an angel.
The stars are turning into olives. Already your power
has spread to the dawn’s horns of red.
And your pure roots are now at the head of my bed,
whither is it destined for me to flee in my last wander?
These roots are your heirs, hewn by lightning,
through your living abyss you deliver them the rains.
You olive tree in the night, may you protect me until morning
from words and chains.
Avrom Sutzkever, translated by me
First appeared in Pakn Treger