Six Poets: Jasmine Donahaye
An angel is passing
And the silence which falls suddenly
on a group, at a party, a silence that elongates,
extends, becomes something
disintegrating, returning each of you
to your awkward fear, seasick
with self-knowledge . . .
Sure, when it happens, and everyone fidgets,
looks down, no one willing to step
into the unknown, one of you will cough
and declare, a little loudly,
an angel is passing in the room.
Released, you laugh,
reach for the wine, for an olive,
wonder what it was you were talking about,
but now you’ve been brushed by its dark wing
part of you is forever crouching, waiting
just before dawn, your hand
over the mouth of your oldest son.
You hear the jeeps; you feel
the rumble of the tanks’ approach; god’s army,
god’s angel; footsteps, muffled in the sand; a
hesitation, low voices, discussion
in a language you don’t fully understand,
and you wonder how you can be sure
the blood-price that you paid will be enough —
from Self-Portrait As Ruth (Salt, 2009)
Jasmine Donahaye’s publications include two poetry collections – Self-Portrait as Ruth (Salt, 2009), and Misappropriations (Parthian, 2006) – and the recent monograph Whose People? Wales, Israel, Palestine (University of Wales Press, 2012). She is a lecturer at Swansea University, and is currently working on a biography of the writer Lily Tobias (aunt of Dannie Abse), which will be published in 2014 by Honno Press.