I believe we are here naturally it came to me as a result the way my parents acted, behaved we talked only Hebrew The Bible a religious book happened to the Jewish People independent I was born in Jerusalem every mountain has a meaning rooted 3,000 years a new meaning
I believe to which they belong every generation comes to Israel life is changing all the time look at the essence the most important part I have seen
Tradition one can experience generation’s experience the basic question to continue in mind young generation exists
Other places in this world nuclear weapons between selves interrelations between nuclear war result of confrontation between total destruction nuclear means
This is the story 30 years balance of terror I believe purpose
We trained our pilots to fly low they flew over the sea sea level almost hovering than flying
We built a model of every type
To hit the points once you hit we trained ourselves time and again eventuality we found unless in three hours in three waves call our planes vis a vis I would say put out prolonged
This is my sister my father myself this is my mother this is when I was this is when I served
In a way the entrance somebody else participated in talk between myself Nasser phoned King Hussein dare to believe to do what we did
Mr. Begin Dayan, Weizman reluctance tell the Saudis who are fearful weakest country richest regime I believe we maintain dialogue free elections as long as only speak we have nothing what will happen in Jerusalem I believe Jordan today
Dayan was twofold lines against terrorism from within advisable gestures in our pockets they are not ready not to become a prophet peace between themselves let’s hope long
Tova Gannana writes: “This is part of a longer project called "The Rabin Poems".” This particular poem comes from an interview Rabin had with Bill Boggs done in English. I was struck by how beautiful Rabin's English was because when you are self-translating on the spot you are getting across information and emotion, not necessarily trying to be eloquent. Rabin spoke all these lines but I edited them. So in the end it is my memory of Rabin and who I need him to be, what I need to hear. The lines follow the chronology of the interview.”
This text is in the genre of “found poetry” – a word collage or re-casting of an existing piece of prose. Just as in the 20th century visual artists became interested in putting “readymade” objects into new contexts, reconstituting them as art, so poets have taken the freedom to reimagine and reshape existing prose texts. Here, much of the reimagining has to do with the lacunae – on the page, the long spaces -- between the phrases taken from the interview, which are indicative of Rabin’s idiosyncratic cadences.
If you listen carefully to the music of his speech in both Hebrew and English you will find that Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel who was assassinated 20 years ago in Tel Aviv for trying to lead a peace process, had a pattern of speaking his thoughts in complete sentences chunked into phrases in slightly unexpected ways.
Rabin knew English well but his heart was Hebrew. As he said, in an ideological decision, his parents Rosa and Nehemiah spoke Hebrew with Yitzhak and his sister Rachel at home – not Russian or Yiddish or English (though his father spent much of his youth in the United States). English, however, was of course the official language of Palestine under the British Mandate and he honed it in his schooling, his military career and his stint as ambassador in Washington. When he spoke, he was articulate in a thoughtful, plainspoken (sometimes blunt, sometimes diplomatic) way; he did not generate self-mesmerizing slick slogans but rather tried to find the best way to express substance.
Tova Gannana identifies as both Israeli and American. She currently lives in the Seattle area, has published one book of poetry, is the poetry editor of The Arava Review and a film curator.
*Try this at home, at work or in your neighborhood: See if you can “find” a poem.
*Bonus: Rabin ‘s last speech.