Betsy Rosenberg

Author: Betsy Rosenberg
Credits: Betsy Rosenberg

I was born in Philadelphia and spent her formative years in Haifa, Israel, Dayton, Ohio, and Michigan City, Indiana. I attended Connecticut College in New London and continued my studies at the Hebrew University and the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem where I have lived since 1967, supporting myself variously as a musician, translator of Hebrew prose and poetry, and editor of literary and scholarly works.  My book of selected poems, A Future More Vivid was published by with Sheep Meadow Press on November 4th, 2014. Here is a sampling of my poems:

Dark Rabbit

Dark rabbit of the arbors and warrens of grammar,

I tell you in a language soft as grapes duly humbled by your tremor of a smile I will spring after you now

into a world that knows me when I speak.


Sukham Dukham

 Seasoned by the light of shooting stars

rock and dust flaming in the dark before dawn my plums

my prizes

dangle from the galaxies sukham dukham

the fruit of pleasure pain.


Rock Climbing

Climbing hand over hand to safety on the rocks grizzled white and rust I've licked the dusty petrichor of home,

eons of home

on the tip of my tongue, the unknowable that sent me forth

among you, past and future souls



This tea I sip

is supposed to make me feel like a late Ming courtesan as I gaze from screen to wordbook to the

papery rice flower in a glass, listening to birds sing wantonly, content that "to warble"

means precisely what I needed it to mean.


No rat god cat god bat god on the Plain of Judges,

no towers caves or crannies to hide in.

Clouds throw shadow far and wide, a hush that levels pride

and stumps the trees.


Balaam to His Ass

Here's the thing, says Balaam to his ass outside the coffeehouse,

They are Mesopotamians like us- why dissemble-

and yet to hear them sing those cloying resonances of the north, fire in the hearth

wolves in the forest

who could foretell they'd

sprawl like drunkards on the divan

among the hajjis and traveling dervishes such love songs of the

flesh and soul

fitting their Hebrew words to our tunes, and yes,

I bless when I would curse them East and West.



I peek at the forever proud

as they swivel obliquely through sticky nuptials with the consent of heaven, don't know why

I'm overjoyed to be a beggar

spinning around the crowd here before the honey runs out.