Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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2 3
K
a h n
— Y
ounger
P
oets
o f
I
srael
And this too, I have seen nought more deep than beauty
except in death, which is the annihilation of beauty
and the end of all concepts, and the infinity of Nothing!
But I have seen: the eyes of a girl shining with grief and
the grief drops with weeping and the weeping drops
down with night.
This is the grief higher than all the stars of the night,
and these tears of grief shine forth like the stars of the night.
And this too I have seen: the eyes of a girl light with deity
until the great fear comes!
And in the depths of the eyes I have seen the bitterness
of death, which is the annihilation of beauty, is the
end of concepts,
is the deity of Nothing!
Why should a generation which witnessed the victory of
national independence have reacted with such a deep sense of
the void? Its poets tell us they often looked upon themselves
as the victims of history and felt inadequate before its exalted
demands—as in A. Gilboa’s “Speech of Those Who Perish
Before Their Day.”
Our day is done. Unreconciled.
I t was not our fault. And we are weeping.
See our affliction which is not grasped,
For before we could even smile we were sleeping.
To our day great and far as the heavens
we compared the exalted life we loved.
For we saw it always as tall as noon,
as the pillars of smoke-in-the-fires we left.
And it went high. And it went far.
And we, following, still our moments were spurning.
For we lived fast and our breath was not deep.
For the pupil of our eyes was burning.
For like corn-ears in the trampling sharav we were burned
and towards The Day as our lives’ hinge we did flame.
And He only shouted. And His laughter was golden.
And to us—He never came.3
Our day is done. Unreconciled.
For our stature could not match its heights we cherished.
See our affliction which is not grasped,
for before we could even smile we perished.
3 That is, “The Day” : the Messianic Age? The “sharav5’ is the hot
desert wind.