Between Mincha’s time, restiveness and gibe’s symbolism in the poetry of Zvika Szternfeld

August 24, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Patrick Tomasso photo



Alisa Velaj


If poetry is conceived primarily as quietly offering of the Word, then its recipient perceives in other ways the message that comes between verses. When we read a text that develops a value on spiritual experience and includes spiritual perception of the act of reading, then arises within us a spiritual experience. [1]

The poetry of the poet Zvika Szternfeld is out-and-out a spiritual perception, a dialogue of human voices that begins at Mincha’s time and is transformed later into the most tragic shapes under the shadow of restiveness, which does not depress the poet, on the contrary he transforms it through the poetic word so far as tragic so as comic.

You should focus on all dimensions to find that fine, invisible line which divvy comic out of tragic in very symbolic poems dense with conceptual metaphors by poet Zvika Szternfeld. His fear is not like in the Scriptures, the beginning of the knowledge of God, but it is a restiveness of human beings wandering as disoriented compasses towards the Temple of Loneliness, where he reigns “the kind that won’t patch neither skies nor feelings.”[2]  Any kind of scheme is reveled inverted in these poems.

This kind of upheaval has within it the exquisite irony, humor, which is a strong point in poetry of Zvika Szternfeld, which differs from the joke that is biting, that does not hurt the man, but the flaws, his weaknesses. The culmination of humor that combines a dual content, the entertaining and serious ones, which are achieved by using two kinds of mechanisms, situations’ humor and words’ humor, the poet Zvika Szternfeld has gripped it in the poem “Heat wave“. Precisely to this poem, wherein the man is perceived as a louse that plays the game of delousing, is stricken with highly intelligent humor the racism that reduces the essence of human as a social being into biological and racial features:


“Columbus discovers


Racism –

what’s a pure-

breaking the myth,

the awful discovery –

bald.” ³


Although the poet Zvika Szternfeld within a poem manages to create different contrasts, yet he is the master of maintaining balance and harmony. Harmony for him is nostalgia inherited from Eden times. Nostalgia where size of longing is evermore shrinking, turning into vivifying and rejuvenation period in the nick of time of misunderstanding of tongues.


“I shall create man in the image of a stalactite

and the love of his bosom will be the basin containing

him, his drops and his puppies the stalagmites,



The size prior to Babel till to the bone hurts into poet being and reader being while on the other hand it configures between verses the inter-textual irony. Now are not the terrestrial who create their own world under the image of the celestials, but these last ones as fallen stars, wear the mantle of the mortals. There aren’t the people turned to the angels, but angels turned to the people. The inter-textual irony hypothesizes in this first transfiguration of human being an absolute imantetism provides findings for those who have lost the sense of transcendence. 4 Chest of man begins to collect more than three elements. Primary unity goes away from initial shape so for every added element is gain a new form. Shape little by little creates families, families create populations and populations exceed the rational and establish the spiritual world which become ever more worthy under the inspiration of angels repatriated in an earthly paradise. Creator of the universe is completely ignored and on the throne of heaven sits universe’s blackmailer that braids and unbraids the thread of agony by paparazzi who invent the lens of Auschwitz.

Forms also exchanged even among the human souls that do not transform under the guide of the mass principle. This kind of transformation within it does not contain any tragic, but doubling down the idea that existence is nothing in its essence, but return to the same core. It’s the human delusion to ourselves that we can be another breath, completely disconnected from the universal lungs, while we darken and wake up under the same sky. In this kind of situation the transcendence is not losing its meaning, but simply is forgotten for a little time and comes back into mind very quickly. It is like a branch and not very enlightened, but still without being embraced by darkness.


“The frog stands on the edge of the pond.

There is no change in the ripple,

circles keep on disappearing

and in the depth

a black tadpole

considers himself a whale.”

“An occasion”


The only sweet self-oblivions are carried out by absolute love. It’s the terrestrial one which pushes Mincha time consciously and unconsciously.





[1] Stan Scott, Poetry and the Art of Meditation: Going behind the Symbols, JAEPL, Vol. 2, Winter 2005-2006, p.77.

[2]Verses of the poem “Loving angels”

[3]Verses of the poem “Heat Wave”





Alisa Velaj

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than seventy print and online international magazines, including: FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK) The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK), etc, etc. Velaj’s digital chapbook “The Wind Foundations” translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published by Zany Zygote Review (USA). Her poems are also translated in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French and Portuguese. Alisa Velaj’s poetry book “With No Sweat At All” (trans by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj) will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

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