Global Correspondent Report on Israel




Helen Bar-Lev, IL


Exciting Developments


We are in an Exciting Development phase, it would seem. Karina Klesko, (Sketchbook editor and owner, has asked me to become a contributing editor for SKETCHBOOK; of course I have agreed. What I shall be doing is interviewing Israeli poets to begin with, and then international poets. The first interview is with Susan
Rosenberg, the wonderful and energetic 86 year old secretary of Voices Israel; the next will be with Thilde Fox.

After dreaming about it for three years, we are finally getting together a poetry group here in the Upper Galilee. It will be at the home of Tommy Berman, who was editor in chief of the annual Voices Anthology, and then handed it over to me. Tommy lives in Kibbutz Amiad, is a Professor Emeritus of Oceanography, a wonderful poet.

Below, my contribution for Valentine’s Day:


Free Verse


Fruit Amnesia


Were there kiwis this Winter?
brown skinned green kiwis
full of Vitamin C and all good things
I can’t recall touching their brown furriness
or eating them
or even seeing them

Were there fejoias this Winter?
I can’t remember
I who loves so fejoias,
sap green skins,
yellow fruit tingling the tongue,
pouting the lips

You love when you tease me to a pout,
see me peeved
so that when you laugh
the power of it purifies the anger
reverses the frown
you like the feel of your laughter power

Next week the calendar turns to Spring
I am remembering the vague taste of chestnuts
also a favourite
savouring them with the palate of winters past
but this one, just leaving,
seems to be a fruit basket of amnesia

And I wonder
if the same thing will happen in Spring
will I forget I’ve tasted my cherished cherries
munched my sweet peas crunchy green
and fresh from the pod
will I not recall eating golden apricots non-stop?

Because I’ve been eating your kisses for nourishment
and the sweetness of your presence
has taken precedence
over the seasons
over all reason…



And yes, indeed, the prize winners for the Cyclamens and Swords annual poetry competition have been announced. Donna Langevin’s The Best Way to Eat a Snowflake. You may read all the other prize winning poems on the Cyclamens and Swords website: 


Donna Langevin


The best way to eat a snowflake


Say grace before you begin
then delicately
as a butterfly
her feet into nectar
taste your way
and around
the shape
of its divine pattern
to preserve
the symmetry
of that moment
it tumbled
from the infinite
on to your red mitten
When you reach
the very last hole
at the center
of its being
melt your tongue inside it
tenderly as a lover



Helen Bar-Lev, artist, poet

Senior Editor,
Cyclamens and Swords Publishing

Poetry editor for Presence:
An International Journal of Spiritual Direction,

Contributing editor,
SKETCHBOOK, A Journal for Eastern and Western Short Forms

International Senior Poet Laureate, 2009
Amy Kitchener Foundation









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