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The way forward is... a beautiful, three part poem which tells a story of loss and hope.


Layers of history, personal and public, through the metaphor of the tel..

"Your body caught in a wave
Turning you over in the thick brine"

In archaeology, a tel (Hebrew for 'hill' or 'mound') is a mound formed by generations of people living in the same place for hundreds and thousands of years. Whilst, 'Aviv' is Hebrew for 'spring'. Thus, Karlan's three part poem seeks to interweave the history of the individuals in Tel Aviv and follow the path of renewal.

Karlan moves fluidly between the personal and the public; focusing on the way an individual deals with heartache, loss and the pursuit of happiness. Each part begins with 'The way forward' so although Karlan is exploring the past, the driving force behind each line is the future and what it may be like when you get there.

"In the bright morning in Tel Aviv
A woman brings death onto a bus"

The poem does not shy away from honesty either. Tel Aviv promises to be a city of renewal but it has witnessed death and conflict too. Karlan recognises how this forms a part of all the residents' lives - how life is immeasurably changed by our actions and the actions of others.

"True love appears small
Like a mother's hand"

Yet, there is hope throughout. Each part is beautifully written with allusions to faith, belief, love and everyday life. Many moments are nostalgic and sweep you up into the cradling arms of excellent poetry.

Karlan has successfully told a story which is limited to a city but embraces the world and humanity at large. The words can find a home in anyone willing to read and listen to ages as they build and fall, and begin again.

Reviewed by

I am an English teacher and a writer. I published my first poetry collection, Between the Trees, in May 2019. I read widely and avidly and review through Reedsy Discovery, Amazon Vine and individual review requests. All reviews are published on Amazon, Goodreads and my blog - My Screaming Twenties.


Layers of history, personal and public, through the metaphor of the tel..

The way forward is tumbling,

Your body caught in a wave

Turning you over in the thick brine

Tossed without up or down

Your head tilted and legs swept back

The water lifting you, spinning you

Towards some unknown shore.

Your first image of the sea

Was overwhelming vastness

So much water reaching to the

Very edge of the world

You hid your face and turned away in terror

Until slowly you found yourself in its precincts

And a wave knocked you head over heels

Immersing you in the immense deep.

Thales was right

We are all water

Melting like a wicked witch

As time itself melts like a Dalinian clock

The hand touched

Liquefying in your watery grasp

No solid ground but it moves

In a changing river of time.

Your body shifts as you tumble

Fluid, a different you in different water

Immersing again and again in the long spiraling stream

The mirror, water’s agent

Showing the blur of form over time.

Then, unspiraling

Pulled by the dark current of oblivion

Your arms making deep strokes of forgetting

The props of self cast off

Your name, your lust, all denuded

Shape dissolving and reconstituting

In the ceaseless rhythm of the waves.

Yet, “hydatorizon” said Parmenides of the earth

That it is rooted in water

Something persists

Proclaiming a self

Though sunk in the sea like dead men’s bones.

About the author

Lawyer in NYC, formerly a professor of Humanities (Ph.D., Columbia). view profile

Published on October 30, 2019

Published by Lulu

0-1000 words

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by

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