Uncle Jack

These are the first of two of the poems of my Uncle Jack (Ya'akov Aviad (Valensky)  that I have translated. Jack was my mother's brother, who died in the 1950s of leukaemia. The idea started when I visited his daughter, my cousin Orit, in Israel in 2012. I asked what poetry her father Ya'akov had written. She gave me a whole book - a memorial book for Jack - in Hebrew. I have translated them, with the help of my cousin Dinah's son Elad Carmel. I aim to do more when I retire - soon.

Ascent to Jerusalem

The mountain air caresses my face.
Its bright, playful joy
reaches my back and neck, and
my hair dances.

The light, cool air of Zion
brightens my entire heart.
I inhale its solace. It fills my breast.
Its every wave refreshes me.

The capital’s breeze is the best of winds.
It cools my mind in the Sharon’s heat.
It’s with my spirit on Shomron’s paths.
In the day’s glow, it fills my yearning heart.

The mountain air bewitches my face.
It quivers like a violin string.
I see Zion from afar,
then return with a pounding heart.

Snowy Jerusalem
Jerusalem in white,
Silver swathed,
Snowy fur
On her hills.

Old man walks alone,
On icy path.
His hat slips
In mighty wind.

Young child rushes
Across the snow
And snowball flowers
On his back.


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