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Michael Rosental Guzman
Int. Relations and Jewish Advocacy.

A tribute to the poetry of Hollender.

Musicians by Marc Chagall, 1979 - Comined with the cover of the song Brit by Avichai Hollander (2021)

This weekend, an older writer asked me if I like poetry. My immediate answer was no, as I don’t own any poetry books (except for possibly My Life by Chagall, which has a different tone). I’ve never set aside time to read poetry or listen to poetry readings. If someone were to ask me who my favorite poet is, my default answer would be Shaul Tchernichovsky—probably the only poet I’ve read. But it’s hard to pick a favorite from such a pool of one. However, in conversation with the man, I realized that I regularly consume poetry—not in written form, but by hearing it. Artists like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen would be considered poets by any standard, even though their primary medium is music.

In line with this, I want to share a modern-day Israeli poet, Avichai Hollander, who has created some of the most heartwarming songs in recent years. Hollander is a former IDF soldier who addresses the traumas of war in his music. He served in the 2014 Gaza operation and has since used music to process his experiences.

“I first encountered Hollander through his song ‘Not Calmed Down’ (לא נרגע), which is his most popular song and may be the most direct representation of how it feels to cope with war memories and traumas while raising a family. The song is a beautiful piece, filled with emotions, analogies, and, in a unique way, love. However, I believe Avichai’s most beautiful song is the one that followed: ‘Invincible’ (בלתי מנוצח).

Invincible (בלתי מנוצח) might as well be considered a poem, and I think it’s my favorite modern Hebrew poem. In an unusual attempt to translate it with my limited understanding of Hebrew and my minimal experience in poetry, I ended up experimenting with transforming the lyrics into a poetic form and then translating it. This is my experiment, blending the areas of poetry, translation, and music. Please don’t take it as an accurate translation—it probably isn’t. If you notice any mistakes in the process, please let me know.

Day after day passes;
you’ve already grown up.
In a moment, you’ll be filled with an unfamiliar scent.
The sweet silence will remain in the past.
From the darkness, a dazzled young man will emerge.

Don’t follow the wind.
Prepare yourself; a harsh world will unfold before you,
And even if it comes to you,

Run away.
But never forget your heart.
There is someone who loves you.
Take only what is right for you.
To the world, open your eyes.
Remember where you came from and remain
Invincible.

Day after day passes,
And everything that is the scariest,
Always when it’s different and strange.
Remember that even after this, it doesn’t end.
There’s still a way to go towards tomorrow.

Don’t follow the wind.
Prepare yourself; a harsh world will unfold before you,
And even if it comes to you,

Run away.
But never forget your heart.
There is someone who loves you.
Take only what is right for you.
To the world, open your eyes.
Remember where you came from and remain
Invincible.

In front of everyone, stay warm.
Let your heart be good to the world,
Good to the world.

About the Author
Michael Rosental Guzman is an International Relations Student and a member of the Jewish Community in Colombia. He is part of the Youth Network of the Latin American Jewish Congress and part of the IMPACT Fellowship of the Bnei Brith.