The poet whose wings were clipped

“See Me Soar and Spread My Wings…” is a collection of poems about hope and yearning, written by a teenage poet who sadly passed away on February 15, 2017.

Bar Sagi at 14 (photo credit: URI LEV)
Bar Sagi at 14
(photo credit: URI LEV)
“See Me Soar and Spread My Wings…” is a collection of poems about hope and yearning, written by a teenage poet who sadly passed away on February 15, 2017.
Bar Sagi, born and raised in Rehovot, loved books from a young age. Her first school years were spent in the United States, and her dominant language was English. A happy,      healthy young girl, she loved horse riding, painting, ice skating, gymnastics – and her two cats.
Tragically, she was diagnosed with cancer at age 11, and the next four years were spent fighting the disease, enduring painful and debilitating treatments until she succumbed at 15. To sustain her during this time, Bar wrote short stories and poems, many of which were discovered only after her death.
Her bereaved family have perpetuated her memory by publishing her poems, introduced by her own autobiography and beautifully illustrated by Ellie Makar- Limanov and Anna Melnikov, together with family photographs.
In this autobiography that Bar began to write two years before her death, she recalls a normal, active, happy childhood but a difficult transition to America, where her family spent five years while her parents completed their post-doctorates and she started school with new friends and a strange language.
She enjoys being the first child and grandchild of loving parents and grandparents, and writes of her annoying little brothers.
Beginning when she was diagnosed with bone cancer, she expresses in poetry her hopes and despair as remissions are followed by relapses, hospitalization and more pain.
Fly away, you don’t belong here,
This hasn’t been your house for over a year.
Let the days of sun, let the days of rain
Warm you and wash away the pain
It’s OK, it’s alright
This isn’t your place anymore
You’ll see better by the dawn light
So hurry up and out the door.
Now show me,
Prove to me you know
What it means to be free!
What it means to fly!
Reach up and touch the sky
Know what’s in your heart
Let it out and let it start.
It’s a fight and I know you’re going to win
Even though you don’t think you will
You have a will of steel!
It is almost unbearable to read the frustration of this young teenager fighting such a disease. In her poem Falling she writes:
Why can’t I just be me
Why can’t I set myself free
Why am I living all day long
With everything so wrong.
Is it all over for me tonight
Is there any reason to keep on
Trying to fight?
I feel myself burned away
Like a shooting star gone astray
And every time I try to fight
Something new douses the light.
And she continues:
My wings are bloodied and torn
My heart and body so worn
And I’m falling from the sky
This year, Bar’s grandparents Denise and Anthony Joseph decided on behalf of the family to sponsor the Bar Sagi Young Poets’ Competition to encourage other young talented poets to expose their work. Administered by Voices Israel Group of Poets in English, the competition is open to all Israeli schoolchildren aged 12-19 who write poems in English.
Three poems will be selected and awarded cash prizes. They will be read at a prize-winning ceremony to coincide with the awards ceremony in the spring of 2020 for the 2019 Voices Israel Reuben Rose Poetry Competition, and later published in the 2020 Voices anthology. Poems must be unpublished and not more than 41 lines. The last date for submission is January 15. The competition has approval from the Education Ministry, and teachers of English throughout the country are being asked to encourage their students to enter.
Details for submissions:
www.Voicesisrael.com
For information about the competition:
Wendy Dickstein at [email protected]
See Me Soar and Spread My Wings can be obtained from www.gvanim-books.com. This video was recorded from one of her poems (the music was composed by Lior Shotz who plays the piano, and sung by Zlil Rubinstein): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3pT57mwjJ8&feature=youtube