The Voices Israel Group of Poets

in English

Reuben Rose Winning Poems 2007

Results of the 2007 Reuben Rose Competition
Judge: Doug Holder, Boston USA

1st.  Prize:  Zvi A. Sesling,  USA -  Fish Eye
2nd. Prize: Celia Merlin, Israel -  Paris Unsaid
3rd. Prize:  Reuven Goldfarb, Israel -  72 VIRGINS
4th. Prize:  Wendy Blumfield, Israel -  Passions

Honorable Mentions

Donna Bechar, Israel - My Father's Ankles 
Helen Bar-Lev, Israel - Two Zinnias 
David Silverman, Illinois, US A - Some Things You Just Have to Learn For Yourself  
Rena Navon, Israel - Big Green Garden 
Ben Wilensky, Israel - Rise Up My Cowardly Dick   
Rena Navon, Israel - Counting  
Elisheva Gal, Israel - Little Departures    
Rena Navon, Israel - The Chilled Tree   
Rena Navon, Israel - The Bone 

1st. Prize

Fish Eye

by Zvi A. Sesling,  MA USA

Once, in the home of a Filipino, I was
served soup with the head of a fish
floating in the middle, the eye staring 
up, the same as in a pile of the dead at
Auschwitz, the center of the eye forming
a question mark asking, Why me? Why am
I here? What have I done to earn this infamous
plight? The eye doesn't see, yet it tells 
of surprise, shock, fear, anguish and pain, 
not love, happiness or humor.
The eye has seen too much, not enough. 
Questions are answered, question remain. 
In the end humanity
consumes fish, consumes humanity.

2nd. Prize
Paris Unsaid
by Celia Merlin

I sent my boys off to Paris today.
Twenty-two and twenty,
the same age as I,
when captured by
the Seine's rainbow twinkle,
Elysees' grandeur.
They are cynically young, from
press keys and wires,
with gadgets literally
out of their ears.
They will turn the same corners,
eat the same bread;
their boundless  dreams ,
though well-hidden,
as green as mine at that time.
Anxiously I wait to see how they fared
away from their text message world.
Will they feel autumn slide through
the narrow back alleys?
Will they smell lovers' sighs in small dim cafes?
Will their sneakered feet remember
the cobblestone, worn and uneven
from horses past and sports cars present?
Will they tell of glances and blushing
and wet autumn leaves and cool white marble,
of ponds, round and shallow with toy boats that float
as children jump past with their plaid woven scarves and
their small yapping dogs?
I have walked them to school-
these two young men.
I have taught them to swim and to drive.
But I can't help but wonder and worry a bit-
have I taught them to hear what's unsaid?

3rd. Prize


by Reuven Goldfarb

 — an arrow in the heart of the Intifada — 
"Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave
a paradise for a sect…." 
 Keats, "The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream"         
When you complete your mission 
and arrive in the place of Judgment, 
you will be greeted 
by seventy-two beautiful virgins 
who won't like you.  
They'll talk only to each other, 
form hostile little cabals, 
engage in whispering campaigns 
to discuss your every earthly peccadillo, 
and, most of all, mock your ambition 
to be honored as a martyr.  
No martyr, they will say, ever won his crown 
by murdering innocent people 
You lost your life in vain.

4th. Prize


by Wendy Blumfield

The music teacher said sing silently
And not to let my voice's passion soar to the sky
A voice that held no tune.
The dancing teacher said go home you are a waste of space
As in passion arms reach to the sky
And my plump overweight little legs march on.
My grandfather gave me a little wooden desk
And I wrote my passions in ink
That stained my fingers and spilt down my white school blouse.
God gave me four children
And I fed them with passion
From those plump overweight breasts
Sang them to sleep with the passion
Of my voice that held no tune
And danced with them with passion
 through the autumn leaves
And the joy of the windswept beach.