In NoFear land

No one checks your bag
At the entrance of a movie theatre
Or the supermarket
And you can sit in a restaurant
By the open window
And you can travel anywhere
Without telling someone first
And you do not have to worry
Who is sitting next to you on the bus,
Or weather the wire peeping out of his bag
Is a Discman or a bomb
In NoFear land
You go out of your house
And return
Just the way you left.


Like a Hedgehog
I move about my world
covered with shields
Ready to hide.
But when panic strikes
all my thorns, sharp as knives
turn around
And stab me inside.


The Courage to be Afraid

Faint heart
That's what they call me
When I refused to jump off the roof
Or hit my friend
Or throw a stone at the neighbor's pane
Only my mother hugged me and said,
"It takes courage to be afraid."


Creatures of Evil

Maybe there's a demon in the closet
A witch under the rug
A monster hiding under my bed
Creatures of evil
Whom I can easily tell
But mostly I'm scared
Of the ones
Who look
Like human beings.


To the Terrorist

Think about me having a father and mother
And a little brother and a sister
Just like you.
Think about how happy they were
When I was born
And how they wanted only the best for me
Just like you.
Think that somewhere in the world
Love and a family await me
Just like you.
Think about all that -
Before you blow yourself up.



Maybe the rain is God's cold sweat
And the thunder and lightening
Are His knees shaking
And the storm is His heart beating
Luckily, even He finally calms down
Arranging a rainbow for Himself.


A Necklace of Fears

If all the fears in the world
Would be twined like beads
No safe thing would be left.
Everyone tells me
Don't even try
There's nothing to gain
Still, I tear this necklace of fears
But a thin thread remains.


Translated by Linda Zisquit

Linda Stern Zisquit an American-born poet was educated at Tufts University, Harvard University and SUNY Buffalo. She has published three full-length collections of poetry, Ritual Bath, Unopened Letters, and The Face in the Window, as well as a number of translations from Hebrew, including the work of Yona Wallach, Yehuda Amichai, and the Book of Ruth. Her Wild Light: Selected Poems of Yona Wallach won her an NEA Translation Grant and was short-listed for a PEN Translation Award. She has lived in Israel since 1978 with her husband and five children, is Poetry Editor for Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and runs ARTSPACE, an art gallery in Jerusalem representing contemporary Israeli artists. She was awarded a writer's grant from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture for 2005-2006 to complete a new collection of poems.

Illustrations by Yoav Herstein

Yoav Herstein graduated the Visual communications Department of the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem, with honors. He received several prizes for his artistic achievements.
He met his wife Noa Cassuto at the academy and they founded the "Herstein Cassuto" - a branding studio of their own. Combining their passion for branding and for each other to create a successful branding boutique, Leading some of the most inspiring campaigns as the art direction of the winning "Kadima" party TV ads, the branding proses of "in", "5min" and many more.
Yoav Herstein's illustrations for the Hebrew edition of "The Courage to be Afraid" were praised for his unique style and refreshing approach.


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