David Avidan: Microfilms


Everything’s miniature, like microfilm.
And at the hour of need – enlarged.
It could have worked for us too.

The world is filled with creatures which are too large
and not always useful and not always necessary.
What’s so bad about miniaturising people and their belongings
and enlarging them at the hour of our need.

Keep them in mind big, taking up space.
Keep them in mind jumping toward the basket.
Keep them in mind, their equipment and objects.
But keep them in mind small, until the proper time.

We haven’t got the mental power
to shrink and at the same time believe
that we’ll grow at the hour of need.
We’re afraid we won’t return from the journey
toward miniaturisation.
We want to maintain our territoriality
to use and as a special option.

And so there’s no mini-future for humankind,
no micro-future for humankind, which doubts.
People don’t have the rare prowess
to contract and attack when the time comes.

David Avidan

Translated by Lisa Katz

Israeli poet and Avidan scholar Gilad Meiri draws on Avidan’s poem in his introduction to nano-poetics posted recently at the Poetry International Web.


~ by matt on 7 January 2010.

3 Responses to “David Avidan: Microfilms”

  1. a matt.. this is another wonderful….

    i was reading the original on the link you gave…
    and i was wondering…a lot.. there are small things, i think i would have done differently, which makes me thinks… when translating, the poem is no longer belong to the poet alone but to the translator as well, for she (or he) brings himself (herself) to it as well…

  2. Love it (of course).

  3. An interesting concept, of course if the power to shrink or enlarge rested with the individual we would all take more space than we required.

    Thank you for these translations, they have opened a whole world that I would otherwise have not been able to enter.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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