Poetry Corner – I Didn’t Win Light in a Windfall, Hayim Nahman Bialik

National Poet of Israel Hayim Nahman Bialik, 1873-1934

National Poet of Israel Hayim Nahman Bialik, 1873-1934
By writing in Hebrew, Bialik was influential in reviving the ancient language, now an official language of modern Israel, along with Arabic.

I didn’t win light in a windfall,
nor by deed of a father’s will.
I hewed my light from granite.
I quarried my heart.

In the mine of my heart a spark hides –
not large, but wholly my own.
Neither hired, nor borrowed, nor stolen –
my very own.

Sorrow wields huge hammer blows,
the rock of endurance cracks
blinding my eye with flashes
I catch in verse.

They fly from my lines to your breast
to vanish in kindled flame.
While I, with heart’s blood and marrow
pay the price of the blaze.

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