Dor, Moshe

Israel, (b. 1932)


  1. An outgrowth of the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea is home
  2. to Circe who changes men, sometimes into wolves
  3. and leopards, more often into swine. Her dark hair
  4. pours over her white shoulders as she stands,
  5. a monarch facing a wine-dark sea.
  7. And what if those wallowing in the dunghill,
  8. rooting for acorns in the sticky mud, dreamed
  9. of heroes sailing through waves of dark wine,
  10. the ship’s prow cutting toward the Golden Fleece?
  11. And what if the wild beasts yearned for justice
  12. and brotherhood before they grew their fangs and claws?
  14. The Aegean Sea is an outgrowth of the Mediterranean: look
  15. Circe stands on top of the cliff, holding the shape-changing
  16. scepter, contemplating with her deep, violet eyes
  17. the ever-flowing space, in whose wine-dark
  18. currents the ships row on, and sail, and some
  19. go down with bold men holding deep in flesh and bone
  20. the ancient days of metamorphosis and betrayal.

Translated by Henry Taylor

© Moshe Dor. Khamsin: memoirs and poetry by a native Israeli. Three Continents Press, (1994).

About the Poet

Moshe Dor (b. 1932), Israeli poet, children’s book author, interviewer, translator and essayist. He has also co-edited three English anthologies of contemporary Israeli poetry.

Dor has also served as literary editor and member of the Ma’ariv newspaper editorial board for many years. He was Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in London and Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at American University in Washington, D.C. [DES-11/10]

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