Shoshana Hereld’s “Hypocrisy in Palestine” 2nd place winner of Lemkin-Tehlirian Prize for Poetry

About Shoshana

I am finishing my BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Classical Studies and Geographical Biogeosciences) at UBC in May. I learned Hebrew at Jewish Day School, so I love incorporating words and phrases into my poetry.


Hypocrisy in Palestine

Pesach genocide: a string around my finger

Shmah, my God
and I heard your voice
echoed in circles
from Yisrael to Breishit

Stories, my God,
I heard stories told in a circle
so no one would forget
they roll from the tongue
sung in voices as varied as the hands
who write the scrolls

and in the middle I found Mitzrayim

I entered Mitzrayim with my father Yoseph
I lived in Mitzrayim with my sister Miriyam
I left Mitrayim with my brother Moshe

I was brought out of Egypt

I was redeemed from Egypt

Baruch, my God
is the beginning of our story
My mother told stories
learned by heart
word-on-word in her heart
she told me stories

In the spring we tell stories

I feel God speak through the mouth of my mother
wrapping me in words
God pointing with the yad tells me
הוצאתי I will bring you out
God brought me out
two thousand years ago
from Cairo
sixty years ago
from Chelmno

God tells me
הצלתי I will deliver you
גאלתי I will redeem you
לקחתי I will take you as my people
as my family

We tell the story
we tell our story
we tell to remember
for two thousand years
we say we remembered
but today WE FORGET

Let us take them, my family
אותם ניקח

Let us take them who have no voice

For we had no voice
so we speak in circles to remember

Though we speak, we do not see
Though we have lips, we have not eyes
We bring upon others what we suffered in Cairo in Chelmno
Let us use our voices to bring out
Let us use our voices to take them
into our hearts

For we know, though others cannot feel
We feel, though sometimes we do not know
the pain
because we forget

We were forced to build walls
we lived behind walls
we walked out from the walls
And now again we build a wall
with mud hands with glass eyes with sharp tongues
we tell a corrupted story

Let us tear down the wall
And say
I will bring you out from your suffering
I will deliver you from the suffering I created
I will redeem you for I was redeemed
I will take you into my heart
We shall be taken as a people, to walk free in our land
to tell our stories
in circles we remember
in circles we tell our stories

word-on-word in our hearts

Shalom, my God
let me look first upon myself to bring peace
word-on-word in my heart
Shalom, my god
grant me one last promise
a fifth promise
I will give you
כוח לי תן
give me strength
to tell the story of peace

from the beginning of myself.

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