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Mediterranean Landscape: "A Picture" by Dahlia Ravikovitch
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Dahlia Ravikovitch From The Love of An Orange (1959)

Translated by Orna Raz

 A Picture

 

The green-lamb woods skittered down the slopes

And the sea below splashed and turned blue from the sun.

In the sky clouds bloomed like river lilies.

And we were still girls.

 

And one girl among us had loving eyes

and we envied her until we forgot,

and another one among us was fair and tall

and knew the answers when asked in class.

 

And I would go out in the sun to the nearby field

and loved the clouds and muse stories over them

and I had a plenty of time to reflect sadly

From the beginning of the gray autumn till the end of the yellow summer.

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The Mediterranean landscape in this poem is familiar to the Israeli reader, the Carmel mountains and the sea below. The poem is bright with the sun but the childhood memories of the child/woman are not happy as  we can see from the following lines:

and I had a plenty of time to reflect sadly

From the beginning of the gray autumn till the end of the yellow summer.

The language in the Hebrew original is archaic, elevated and stylized . At that stage the young Ravikovitch preferred expressions, motives, and quotations from the Bible. This poem, like "Love", is highly structured and rhymed. In an 1970 interview Ravikovitch stated: "It was my biblical period. . . after my first book I knew that I had to break away from my biblical language". Her next books are different in that respect.