Dan Pagis--Romanian/Israeli


Dan Pagis

Born in Bukovina, Romania in 1930, Pagis spent his adolescent years in a Nazi concentration camp.  After liberation in 1946, he went to Israel were he studied to be a teacher in a kibbutz.  He eventually earned his PhD from Hebrew University, where he later taught as a professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature.  His fist book of poetry, Sheon ha-Tsel (The Shadow Clock) was published in 1959.  Another major work, Gilgul (Revolution) was released in 1970.  Pagis is regarded as one of the most important poets of modern Israel, and his considered a major international poet.  He died in 1986.

Draft of a Reparations Agreement

All right, gentlemen who cry blue murder as always,
nagging miracle-makers,
Everything will be returned to its place,
paragraph after paragraph.
The scream back into the throat.
The gold teeth back to the gums.
The terror.
The smoke back to the tin chimney and further on and inside
back to the hollow of the bones,
and already you will be covered with skin and sinews and you will live,
look, you will have your lives back,
sit in the living room, read the evening paper.
Here you are. Nothing is too late.
As to the yellow star:
it will be torn from your chest
and will emigrate
to the sky.