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Tali Cohen Shabtai – In the Image of God

Profile Shabtai LE P&W March 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing March 2021.

Tali Cohen Shabtai was born in Jerusalem, Israel, and is an international poet of high esteem with works translated into many languages. She is the author of three bilingual volumes of poetry, “Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick”(2007), “Protest” (2012) and “Nine Years From You”(2018). A fourth volume is forthcoming in 2021.  She has lived many years in Oslo, Norway, and in the U.S.A.


In the Image of God

To whom will you imagine me and compare me to?

“For in his image he
created man.”

As worded,
I am
called a man (Adam in Hebrew)
named after the earth (Adama in Hebrew)
why was I named as a man after the lowest
part of creation?
For that I am flattered. In any case
the sky is not achievable.

And yet at the same time as a man I am
treated upliftingly and exaltedly that the Torah gives
me
for the Creator of the World who chose
me in his image and in this passes over
my futility
in front of God? I relish
ironic statements like this,
but

as long as I don’t know
the sight of God

It does not interest me
that it’s possible to simulate a shape to its creator
like clay in the potter’s hand
and allow me to reflect on
this paradox:

hence, God can
wear my bra
snort a cigarette and confront
the forlorn thoughts that
visit me
in Jerusalem – where
the divine revelation in the world
resides, so to speak.

And if I was created in God’s image,
from here it is possible to compare with the parable
about a craftsman who with does the material
as he pleases,
for which it is called “matter in the hand of the creator”
but should I admire
that I
am in God’s hands like the matter in the hand of the artist?

And more than that, it is said
that I was created in his image.
Of course not.

By the force of my doom

By the force of my doom
The outcast

The blood of disgrace
Is in menstruation.

And not upon
(A foreign)foreskin
In humility

And not as
A wife to bear it
In humility

For this
I give
No guarantee.


© Tali Cohen Shabtai