Years I Walked at Your Side

Selected Poems

By Mordechai Geldman
Translated by Tsipi Keller

Subjects: Poetry, Jewish Studies
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438472386, 212 pages, October 2018

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Table of contents

Tsipi Keller and Ruth Kartun-Blum

I Wrote Write Will Write: Author’s Preface to the Hebrew Edition

From New Poems (2010)

Poems from Amirim
Missing (1)
Missing (2)
Who Do You Think You Are
[ I had a revelation ]
The body
I Don’t Know
At Your Side
Signal, Flicker
What Will I Tell
Poems about My Left Eye
Poems of the River: Leave Behind
[ All at once ]
An Ecological Poem
[ I’ve forgotten my aging ]
A Short Story
[ The bird dives ]
Only a Moment
I Wanted to Tell You

From Tamir‘s Poems (2007)

Let Me
True Compassion
Cell Phone
The Spirit and the Soul
I Dreamt You
Another Bracelet
The Date
The Son
There’s Love
And Now
Text Messaging Poems
How could I, Tamir

From Poem of the Heart (2004)

Home Poems
At First I Wished to Speak Up
The Neurotic’s Poem
[ The voice of a bird ]
Oh My Love
Love Poem
N. B.
The Café

From Oh My Dear Wall (2000)

[ In the depths of childhood ]
[ In the end I couldn’t save her ]
[ Before she died ]
Firing Squad
The Wall
Blue Head
The Sinai Desert Flies
A Lone Tourist

From Book of Ask (1997)

Another Poet
Friendly Dragon
Holy Ground
I Won’t Travel This Summer
Abused Neighbor
My Death 1
My Death 2
From the cycle “Summer Sequence”
Almost Flowers

From Eye (1993)

The Last Interview
The Ceiling’s Looking Glass
Porn 6
The Hottentot Venus (Porn 8)

From Milano (1988)

Guy with a Beard and a Ponytail
Human Engineering
Buddha of the Light
Poplar in the Window

About Mordechai Geldman
About Tsipi Keller
About Ruth Kartun-Blum
Index of Titles and First Lines

The first book-length collection in English of this major Israeli poet.


Finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Poetry presented by the Jewish Book Council

from "At Your Side"

Years I walked at your side

like our prophet Isaiah

barefoot naked and bare

I will put on no cover

until you see me

until you recognize an other

one person

at least

and so know yourself as well

Mordechai Geldman came of age as a poet in the seventies, an auspicious and transformative time in the development of modern Hebrew literature, as poets and writers rejected the flowery, the hyperbolic, and the sentimental and opted instead for a more direct and intimate speech. While his early poems tended to rely on linguistic exploration, his vision soon turned inward, as he came to favor the simple, the true, the authentic. Geldman's poems are direct and accessible, touching on and revealing the divine and the sacred in the so-called mundane.

Mordechai Geldman was born in Munich in 1946 and arrived in Israel in 1949. An art critic, artist, author, poet, and psychotherapist, Geldman has published fourteen volumes of poetry and five essay collections, and is the recipient of the Chomsky Award, the Brenner Prize, the Yehuda Amichai Prize for Hebrew Poetry, the Prime Minister's Prize for Hebrew Writers, and the Bialik Prize in Literature. His work has been translated into English, Arabic, Czech, French, Greek, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. He lives and works in Tel Aviv. Tsipi Keller is a novelist and translator. Her previous translations include Poets on the Edge: An Anthology of Contemporary Hebrew Poetry and Reality Crumbs: Selected Poems, by Raquel Chalfi, both also published by SUNY Press.


"One of the best poets writing in Hebrew today . . . [Geldman's poems are] multifaceted and multidimensional . . . a compelling intellectual challenge that blends existential sorrow with humorous charm. " — Haaretz

"One of Geldman's poetic characteristics is the arc of his cultural associations and sensibilities, an arc that extends from East to West, and is quite rare in the Israeli literary landscape . . . The sensual and cultural richness, the fine musicality, the originality of observation, and the thematic singularity combine to make Geldman's work an important and beautiful treasure in contemporary Hebrew poetry. " — Rina Litvin

"[Geldman's] reach is perhaps not surprising for a psychoanalyst confronted professionally and temperamentally with the inner as well as outer manifestations of human experience. Readers come away with an impression of the poet as uomo universale, a genuinely Renaissance personality, conversant with Greek mythology, world and Jewish history, Chinese culture, the fine arts, flora and fauna, and the expanses of literary imagination. " — Stanley F. Chyet and Warren Bargad, No Sign of Ceasefire: An Anthology of Contemporary Israeli Poetry

"These are the poems of a wise man, incessantly plagued by epistemological questions. " — Yedioth Ahronoth

"Mordechai Geldman's Years I Walked at Your Side . . . reveals a poet at the height of his creative powers, and places him among the great poets of Hebrew poetry. His poems are meditative, sensual, autobiographical; and always the sudden splash of color, surprising in its simplicity, and affecting us deeply. " — Maariv

"Geldman is one of the very few Hebrew poets who have so boldly embraced the sensual while dealing with the materialistic notions of self and universe. " — TimeOut

"Linguistically and rhythmically reserved, Geldman's poems achieve a fine balance between the emotional and experiencing self, and the philosophical/metaphysical meanings they invoke. " — Moznaim

"Reading Geldman's Years I Walked at Your Side allows the reader to follow the great transformations in the work of one of our most important poets. " — Israel Today

"Geldman creates a complete and coherent poetic universe, a kind of laboratory where the self investigates itself, its consciousness, and its dialectical relationship with the world. Geldman's poems are direct and uncompromising, taking on the large themes that have been central to philosophy and art from time immemorial. " — Davar

"Geldman possesses remarkable linguistic and creative abilities. His poems exhibit beauty and depth, investigating the private self as well as the universal, while devoid of all prejudice or preconception. The clarity and virtuosity of his language, its musicality, grant a classicist dimension to his natural nonconformism, as he engages the darker corners of human existence. " — Uzi Shavit