Global Correspondent Report from Israel




Helen Bar-Lev, IL




This is what’s been happening here, time flying by so fast between reports it’s as though only a few days have passed: Johnmichael Simon and I had the poetry reading at Tmol Shilshom bookshop/restaurant in Jerusalem on the evening of 12 July. Please take a virtual tour of this bookshop – it is absolutely lovely and unique:

David Ehrlich, the owner, is a writer and a dear friend of many years. The reading went well and the food there is always delicious. Old friends from Jerusalem, some of whom we haven’t seen for some years, came and sat patiently and attentively while we read our poems. It was quite a wonderful experience.

Cyclamens and Swords is accepting submissions for our annual contest, for guidelines please see 

And the theme for our next December issue is SUPERNATURAL. So please submit to both.

In addition, Voices Israel is now accepting submissions for the annual Reuben Rose competition, please see the website for guidelines: 

Our new poetry group in the Upper Galilee which meets once a month at the home of Tommy Berman on Kibbutz Amiad, is finally taking off, becoming a reliable thing, and it is a very good group. We continue with our twice monthly writer’s group at the home of Dina Yehuda at Moshav Sde Netofa, about an hour’s drive from Metulla, but worth every minute of driving (beautiful scenery) and every penny of petrol.

Probably the most exciting news of all is the birth of a grandson, Oren Zvi, second son to my son Eyal, brother to Itama, and our fourth grandchild. 1 August, weighing nearly 4 kilo(!), a lovely, calm sweetie. And so this poem is dedicated to the two little brothers.


Itamar meets baby brother


Daddy carries first-born Itamar
into the hospital,
he is two years old
and terribly spoiled

Momma is waiting for him,
sits delicately on the edge of the bed
Itamar melts into her lap,
her arms, her kisses,
her still-large tummy

He ignores the new baby purposefully,
the bassinet by the bed does not concern him,
grandparents’ presents are more colourful,
more interesting

Daddy picks Itamar up again,
maneuvers his attention to the bassinet,
where baby lies, complacent;
he has already discovered his thumb

Baby howls, Itamar startles
this is not a doll and not a dream,
not yet a threat, legs still folded,
remembering the womb

Baby is comforted on Momma’s shoulder
Itamar touches a tiny ear,
the thick black hair on brother’s head
peers at his eyes, half-closed
to the newly bright light

Returns to his games
sucks his pacifier a bit harder
it is a big responsibility
to be an older brother
tonight he has the house to himself
he will deal with this tomorrow


Johnmichael and I are off to Ireland shortly, for a couple of weeks, to visit with John’s son Danny, to spend a day at the Fleadh (pronounced Flah), an annual Irish music festival, to visit that beautiful country, to escape our Mediterranean summer’s heat, which has been particularly fierce this summer.   


This month my contributing editor’s interview is with Johnmichael – FINALLY you will be able to get to know him!  


Be well everyone,


Helen Bar-Lev, artist, poet

Senior Editor,
Cyclamens and Swords Publishing

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

International Senior Poet Laureate, 2009
Amy Kitchener Foundation










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