Cloud Burst Queen | Shira Chai

First cloud burst of autumn

First cloud burst of autumn
cleansing the sidewalks
forgiving us our summer rage.

Where do we go from here?
ambling down the same well beaten path again.
or should we prudently muddy our boots
in the soggy overgrowth?

New terrain unexplored.
This poem was previously published in the IAWE journal ARC 25.
First Cloud Burst of Autumn
©2009 Shira Chai

I am the Queen of the Night

I am the Queen of the Night,
a cactus with shallow roots,

Despite my gnarled, knobby stem,
               I permeate ALL oceans,
                  ascend     ALL mountain ranges,
                  infiltrate ALL borders.

the enchanted moment,
      with serenity 
       and courage.

the divine appearance
                            in glory
                           and splendor.
a blossom appears.
against the charcoal night.

Yes, I own it 
The embodiment of time itself.
Me as Queen of the Night
©2019 Shira Chai

In her own words…

The Queen of the Night cactus flower blossoms once a year. It has a distinct vanilla smell. A miraculous event, it is stark against the night sky. It is transplanted all over the world. But it keeps the rare night blooming in accordance with its origin. Like all cacti the Queen of the Night has shallow roots. It’s cultivated in many gardens. But it also thrives in the wild around the Mediterranean.

The Queen of the Night cactus is a migrant cactus. Like me, never quite fitting in her adopted environment. But still she has evolved and developed passed point of origin.

Over forty years ago my husband, Michael, and I came to live on Kibbutz Ein Dor with a group of Americans. On the surface it was an ideal situation. But in reality, we never quite fit in. We accepted our fate. Always being the outsiders, the migrants, not belonging. However, we live in hope that our children and grandchildren find a place to belong here in Israel. 

“The Migrants Salon” exhibition poster

This painting was the subject of a group exhibition that I participated in at the Mabou Gallery, the municipal gallery of HaEmek county, which opened in March 2021. All of the artists migrated to Israel. Thus, the title of the exhibition: “The Migrants Salon.” It also refers to the great French intellectual Salons of the 17th and 18th centuries.

I exhibited this triptych and poem in the exhibition. Here I embody the Queen of the Night flower! I embrace the grace, uniqueness and rarity of the bloom. I included in the background a lesser nose bat, who pollinates the flower.

I offer the rare night bloom of the Queen of the Night flower as a symbol of hope and perseverance for a better future.

Shira Chai with Eynat Kleifeld, curator “The Migrants Salon” exhibition, 2021

Poetry and art ©2009, @2019, and
in combination as presented here, ©2023 Shir Chai
All rights reserved

Shira Chai…

…is a painter, teacher and artist who writes poetry. From an early age she began journaling. The words soon became poetry and part her paintings. She embosses the words into the paint. Ms. Chai has exhibited in Detroit, New York, Tel Aviv and various Kibbutzim, in group and solo exhibitions.

Shira is a member of Kibbutz Ein Dor since 1983. In 1980 Shira made Aliyah with her husband, Michael and a group of Americans to Ein Dor ‘Garin Ein Dor’.  She is the mother of two daughters and a proud grandmother.

In 1982 the kibbutz divided an old chicken coop into studios for the resident artists. The kibbutz renamed the building the ‘Artists Chicken Coop’. There among the cows, horses and chickens is her studio for 40 years.

Between 1972 and75, she participated in the Writers Workshop of Judith McCombs (a published author and poet, ‘The Habit of Fire’).

Shira Chai published poetry in ARC 25 and 26 journals of IAWE (Israeli Association of Writers in English.


Website / Studio


Be inspired… Be creative… Be peace… Be

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