The Voices Israel Group of Poets

in English

Poets Read Aloud

Members of Voices Israel are invited to send in texts and recordings of your poems for this page. For instructions how to do this, please send an email to the webmaster and we will provide you with a file containing the information needed to help you make and send the recordings to us.


Barry Gonen immigrated from England in 1971 and has been living on Kibbutz Negba since 1973.  He is married with four children (3 girls, 1 boy) + 7 far!

Barry teaches Special Ed at Tsafit regional high school.  His hobbies are Music-songwriting, composing, archeology, gardening and photography.  Barry joined Voices in July 2010 and we look forward to meeting him at one of our poetry evenings or workshops.


The Pose-Rap - by Barry Gonen

Crouched down as if in a Grand Prix, he looks just forwards.
Arms straight on the wheel, shades perched on the bridge of his nose.
Never glances from side to side, head down, cool, no frown.
Right foot pressing hard, left, ever ready for that change so quick,
Swerving and skidding round his ‘opposition’, making them sick,
Last minute breaking, spinning acceleration,
Gambling on the traffic lights not ever changing,
Mirrors redundant, indicators never used,
White lines are for the blind, not him,
Inside overtaking hardly a sin.
Speed limits meaning nothing,    
Pedestrians, “Be you warned!”
When you hear his horn,
when he comes your way,
Step back onto the sidewalk
Live for another day!

One hand on the wheel, elbow resting on the door sill.
Second hand with phone to ear, gas pedal to the floor.
Six speaker stereo system thumping out its noise,
Nothing on this earth will alter his poise,
He’s your Macho Male driver.
It’s not important in which car he sits,
From the smallest mini to the largest limousine
He will never lose his grip!
If you meet him on the highway, just let him pass you by,
And just hope there is a policeman who will catch him,
or at least one who will try!
He will eventually find his sticky end in a ditch or on a bend
I just hope he’ll be on his own with nobody else’s friend!
They’ll say it was inevitable, nobody’ll be surprised,
His neighbors and family knew his driving was suicide.

He thought he was the King of the road!
He thought he was invincible!
He forgot he was not unique,
There are far too many like him,
We see them on the roads, every week!

So, be careful when you are behind the wheel,
Avoid these criminal maniacs,
Give them space; don’t get in their face!
Don’t give them an excuse to start a race!
Get home safely at a leisurely pace!
Live for another day!                                       

© Barry Gonen 2006 - All Rights Reserved 


Spinning Wheels of Hell - by Barry Gonen

Oh, most merciful and Almighty Lord,
Who gave those Reapers curv-ed swords
to slay and maim, some lacking shame,
In their chariots of doom,
In their chassis that loom,
sparing no room to maneuver?

Who are they to deny that boy his right
To his first kiss, or innocent night of happiness.
To his dawn of wonder, his twilight of purity   
To his onset of life within a bosom of security.    

Who gave that devil driver his scythe and sickle
To harvest that blossom, to pluck that bloom
To slaughter a families hope and pride,
To take a boy’s life before his prime,
To wither those petals so precious and fine?
No punishment can ever fit that horrendous crime!

There is too much carnage, too many victims,
Too many mangled and broken survivors,
There are too many small coffins, too much grief
At too many funerals with too many wreaths.
Too much lamenting, wailing and weeping, and
Not enough legislation to prevent this from happening

Barry Gonen 18.11.08     All Rights Reserved©



Also a full moon - by Helen Bar-Lev

Here in Spain
there is also a full moon
and the hotel
celebrates our exodus
from the holyland
five long days ago
with dishes of calamari
and other sea fruit delicacies;
flamenco dancing
is an after-dinner delight

The full moon and I
eye each other,
he chastises me –
what you doing here
when you should be home
in your Jerusalem
and not in Spanish exile –
don’t you realize
how difficult it was
for the Lord to get you
out of Egypt,
that it was not easy
to move the earth
and the heavens,
to part waters,
and you in your gratitude
flee to Spain,
from which you were forced to exodus
five centuries ago,
from which your kin
were forbidden to return
by rabbinical proclamation,
and this whole land
screams it,
its history
repeats its stupidity
ad infinitum,
and to this country you come
for the convenience
of ignoring
the commemoration
of that other evil exodus
from Egypt
five centuries
plus three thousand
years ago,
before the fact of Christ
entered any
contemporary imagination,
before Queen Isabella
claimed Christ enticed her
to rape the Americas,
expel you Jews?  

You know this,
every molecule of you senses it
it has entered your blood stream,
your collective Jewish memory,
it explodes your emotions,
pellets your conscience
and here you thought
you would find
a peaceful vacation,
in this nation alien?

Go home!  
says the full moon,
I say,



Sea song - by Johnmichael Simon

I long to write a song about the sea
Where gloom and gleam merge in a fishes eye
But find myself aquariumed instead

My notes restrained behind thick glass
Not free, not open to the screech of gulls
And sky, imprisoned still I long to sing the sea

I long to romp with dolphins and with whales
To leap in figure eights round sailboats’ hulls
Aquariumed I swim with mournful tail

Come put your ear up to this glass with me
Come listen how the fishes gleam in gloom
And as our noses bump, my eyes you’ll see

You’ll hear the songs the conch shell sings of sails
Of wind and spray of dolphins and of gulls
You’ll hear the lobsters tell their crusty tales

So when you feel aquariumed in gloom
Come put your ear up to this glass with me
Together we will sing about the sea
Unhinge partitions, set the lobsters free



 On Seeing the Grand Canyon Near Sunset by Ezra Ben-Meir

The majesty of the Grand Canyon
An effigy of the Wonders of Creation.
But in whose eyes?
God must look at the play of
Water on soft rock
And laugh
But in whose eyes?

What are those humans ogling?
Can it match a single thought
Its journey through neurons and
Chemical transmitters
Multiplied a million times a second
Hatched by aeons' long process?

Can it match the wielding of an axe
The slicing of a head or arm
With a machete
The symmetry of movement
Neurons and muscles in perfect coordination.

Have they lost their sense of judgment?



 Refugee from the north - by Johnmichael Simon

Anxiety trembles her brow
a thousand concerns
the children, the war, the cat’s medicine
lost somehow in the move

The rockets raining their daily toll

Twisted girders, masonry rubble
measuring those dead, those wounded
her mountain forest, home of flowers and love
burnt, blackened, oozing smoke

The hot water boiler, had she turned it off?

Now, the town she had fled
lies empty, its back bare to the flail
of the whips lashing again and again
onto bleeding flesh of streets
blood running down the mountainside
past the fast food places all padlocked
a crow attempting to pull a fragment
of flesh glued by heat to sidewalk

Little Sara had caught some infection
temperature rising in the humid hotel room
television blaring siren warnings
a growing battlefield of angry red blotches
crawling across her back, arms, abdomen

Each morning there was a new crop –
Kiryat Shmone, Shlomi, Acre, Safed,
Nazareth, Haifa.  The doctor said it was a virus
antibiotics would not help

An announcer read the names of the soldiers
killed in yesterday’s fighting.  She stopped breathing,
breathed again – no-one she knew.
Baby started fretting, she turned to nurse him
watched his lips pucker around her nipple until
satisfied, he fell asleep
An excited voice explained how to
get a mortgage within an hour.
Fires still burned in the forests above her town
yellowish smoke engulfing most of the northern
neighborhoods.  She wondered again whether
she had been right to insist on a divorce.
Where was he now? Conscripted? Thinking of her?

She tried to sleep again, couldn’t, her mind
coming back to the hot water boiling away at nothing,
all that electricity wasted…

Soon, a week, two weeks, a month, it would
be over and she would go home and turn it off.



The forest - by Helen Bar-Lev

In a coincidental forest
on a January Friday
white daisies with yellow smiles
blink and sway
in the calm sun
almonds blossom
in pink perfection

not a breeze
stirs the firs
which watch me
as I invade their
birdchirp world

And I, infused with a forest tiredness
seek to rest
lulled sleepy by its perfect stillness
almost a holy hush

I must have been born
in the forest
in other times
when I was another me
with the fairies and elves
and other people
little like myself
because of the kinship
the bond with it
the naturalness
like returning to
a home once lived in
or a visit to distant family

I sit now dreamy
in the after-the-rain cleanness
on newborn greenness
bees buzz invisible
a sheep bleats
pine needles
make such a fine cushion

The forest is an entrance
into innocence
into kinder times
and gentle acceptance

It is the place
Peace goes
to meditate


Rachel's Eulogy for her Grandmother by Ruth Fogelman

Click here  to view U-tube video

Grandma, how I miss you! I sat at your knee
telling you my dreams. You
smiled and nodded knowingly,

singing of a land where summer grass is topped with dew –
you read me Aunt Rivka’s scrolls
from the land where date palms brush the sky. You knew

I loved your lullabies of young men whose souls
soared to heaven as they sat learning in a tent,
and your stories how Uncle dug wells – deep holes –

from which water surged, and oases bloomed, and how Aunt went
and fell off her camel when she saw
Uncle, like an angel, praying in a field. You spent

hours with me as I played with new lambs near the tent door!
And you consoled me when Leah married the man
I loved. You too will have him, a little patience, dear, you said before

the morning star appeared. You persuaded Father; you ran
to my tent that night, held me in your arms and let me cry
into your embrace as you revealed your plan.

Oh Grandma, you consoled me in my barrenness,
you hugged me when I’d sigh
upon hearing that my sister had birthed another boy.
But Grandma, who will console me now? How can I say goodbye?