The Only Democracy

Rami Saari

This isn’t going to be a political poem, my fellow citizens,
because I have no patience for you any more.
I have no patience for chiefs and natives,
the cop-bashers, the scalpers.
Are these indeed the youths who were
to have played before us?
To play?! Force 17 with the caress of a mortar,
and my darling son with clubs and rubber bullets.

What shall I say? The film is really gripping,
even if most of us have supporting roles,
but our hope is not lost to make it big
some day like real men:
to eat and guzzle and devour
like live fire, like the image of God’s image,
like pagans eagerly worshiping
Rahab, the holy whore, the furrow, Cuckoo Land,
And here the wild west
Settles in the patriarchs’ tomb,
In the east.


For the youths who were to have “palyed before us”, see Second Samuel 2:14. Saul’s general and David’s general sit on either side of the pool of Gibeon and agree to watch their respective hand-picked young soldiers engage in combat in pairs. David’s men win the day by bloody trickery.
For the “darling son”, see Jeremiah 31:20. Through the words of the prophet, God promises to restore the northern kingdomin tender and very human language.
For “our hope is not lost”, see “Ha-tikva”, the Israeli national anthem: “Our hope is not yet lost, the hope of 2,000 years, of being a free people in our land, the land of Zion, Jerusalem.”
For “the image of God’s image”, see Be-Tselem, The Information Center for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, which takes its name from the idea first adumbrated in Genesis 1:27: “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.”

Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden

GREEK POETRY translated by Saari to Hebrew
GREEK PROSE translated by Saari to Hebrew
Rami Saari’s page

Skip to content