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Touching the Harp Strings

  • The Animated Jewish Year

Product Description

by David Haskell Cohen 

Hardcover, 95 pages 
Published by Devora Publishing 
Publication: 2010 
ISBN 13: 978-1-934440-70-4 

This unusual book of poems by David Haskell Cohen was written mostly in the last fifty years, in classical English verse. There are many variations in form, beat and rhythm. Sonnet form is a favorite, but even there subtle variations abound. 

As a London taxi driver famously asked the philosopher Bertrand Russell: “What’s it all abaht then?” The critic can honestly reply that all of life is here—but he had better quickly add that there is a powerful body of verse in which a Jew is pleading with Heaven. 

There are great lines in these poems, but his has been a largely undiscovered talent. 

Mine is the offering most beloved of man 
A poor one’s broken pieces in a pan 

I saw a line of purple blossoms lying 
Along a city roadside drain 
And there were golden petals sighing 
Shaken down by wind and rain – 
Surely hints which heaven ever flings 
Upon our laboured, dowdy, man-made things 

And so I go about at ambling pace 
Looking through the windows in my face 

About the author: 

David Haskell Cohen was born in 1925 and raised in the small Iraqi-Jewish community of Calcutta in British India. He was educated at St Xavier’s College, in those days affiliated to Cambridge University. His first poem, Reading, was written at the age of sixteen and another early poem, If I Could, appeared in the Times Illustrated Weekly of India in 1949. 

He worked as a copywriter at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Calcutta. Then, in a career spanning London and New Delhi, he became a journalist with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Times of India, PTI/Reuters, the Indian Express (as News Editor) and l’Humanité. 

Upon settling in London in 1958, he worked for several advertising agencies as copywriter before becoming creative director and owner of his own agency, Cohen and Company, in Mayfair. 

In 1995, now retired, he moved to Israel, joining his sons and their families. He and his wife live in Jerusalem where his itinerary includes studying the daily Talmud page, reading from his wide-ranging library, and writing poetry. 

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