Two, In Secret

Tuvia Ruebner

Translated from the Hebrew by Lisa Katz


Stunning, stunning
What is?
This loveliness.
– Of what?
The ‘Vespro della Beate Vergine’,
Monteverdi’s evening prayer.
Beauty that banishes thought.
– Always?
Again and again.
– For you.
If not open – people don’t understand.
– How?
When I heard it the first time
my heart bowed down
bowed down and lifted off, to the skies. To the heavens.
– Stop exaggerating!
I’m not exaggerating
– And now with your raspy ears?
Yes. But
– But what?
– Nothing what?
One day I’ll hear no more.
– You’ll be deaf?
I won’t hear.
– And you’ll be no more, you?


Click HERE to read the Hebrew version of this work in Granta Hebrew

Tuvia Ruebner (30 January 1924 – 29 July 2019) was an Israeli poet, editor, translator and photographer. In 1941, he emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Mandate Palestine without his family, and joined a kibbutz. His parents, sisters and grandparents were sent to Poland and were murdered in the Holocaust. Following the Israel War of Independence, he became a member of Kibbutz Merhavia. For many years he was a schoolteacher and later lectured on literature at Haifa University. His poetry blends classical and modern Hebrew, creating a unique idiom. In 2008, Ruebner was awarded the Israel Prize, for Hebrew poetry.

Lisa Katz was born in New York and has lived in Israel since 1983. She has a Ph. D from Hebrew University. Her translated books include Late Beauty by Tuvia Ruebner; Suddenly the Sight of War: Nationalism and Violence in Hebrew Poetry of the 1940s by Hannan Hever; Approaching You in English by Admiel Kosman; Look There by Agi Mishol. She is the Central English Editor for Poetry International Rotterdam.


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