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This poem is taken from PN Review 194, Volume 36 Number 6, July - August 2010.

Four Poems Robert Pinsky

Chaim Bialik’s ‘Light’
(After the Hebrew)


I didn’t win light by some stroke of luck.
It wasn’t left me in my father’s will.
I carved my light from living rock:
I quarried it out of my heart.


Deep in that rock, a spark is hidden:
Not large, not much, but mine.
Not rented not borrowed not bought not stolen –
Light entirely my own.


Sorrow hammers its mighty blows
And the rock endures until it cracks
With a bright flash that blinds my eyes –
Light that I seal into verse.


When you breathe lines I made,
They kindle a flame, vanishing-bright.
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