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A Little Woman Made the World

A little woman made the world
Her bed,
That great round globe.
And it didn’t escape the world
That a little woman
Lay resting on him.
And he grew grasses into her lap,
Wrapped her body
With leaves of grass.
Carried her off
As he carries mountains and valleys,
Lands and seas.
And this very woman would whisper:
O world—O bed of mine,
O world—rivers and streams,
Raging seas and even me.
Here I am, afloat like a sailor’s daughter
And the world is my boat.
A swarm of stars like a swarm of bees
Humming around the globe.
The world cleaves to my belly,
My hands sprout up like flowers from the earth.
And atop that enormous globe,
Delight courses into my limbs.
A little woman made the world
Her bed
— That great round globe.
And it didn’t escape the world
That a little woman
Lay resting upon him.

Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936-2005), one of the great Hebrew poets, was widely honored for her artistry and admired for her courage as a peace activist. In addition to winning the Israel Prize, her poems have been translated into 21 languages.

Chana Bloch‘s most recent books of poems are Mrs. Dumpty (U. of Wisconsin Press, 1998, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize) and the forthcoming Blood Honey itals (Autumn House Press, 2010).

Chana Kronfeld, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, is the author of On the Margins of Modernism: Decentering Literary Dynamics (U. of California Press, 1996), winne of the MLA Scaglione Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literary Studies.