Page 39 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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a h n
— Y
o f
and of the continued “conquest” of modern Hebrew for purposes
of poetry. But these were problems and forces felt back in the
20’s with the early poems of Shlonsky and in the 30’s with the first
volume of Alterman. The book chosen for review in
The Sundial,
by D. Pagis, who is a bit of a modern “classicist”
with affinities perhaps to Rilke, and in Israel to Leah Goldberg.
In any case, his first collection in its more successful poems shows
him to be a delicate, even meticulous, craftsman of verse, as in
the following:
a u l
a nd
lay ing
efo re
“And he cast at him the spear.”
In the palace of his silence Saul is locked
and in hands of his servant-foe captive of sound.
And to him the curved harp too is the shut־up gate
of melody’s enchanted ground.
And David’s slender hands, the many strings among,
are bright birds that through a lattice Saul can see,
and their flight fades and draws near
and is high and yearns and is free
and to the Gate of Song
misleads the King.
Then Saul heard, and the blood in his temple beat
and he cast the spear and it whistled fleet
and smote the stone.
And Saul remained empty-handed, alone.
The trend away from world problems towards a concern with
the ego is well stated in the light, refreshingly adolescent lines
of N. Zach:
As for me, I sing to myself.
The wind will fall and will break.
The poor man’s lamb, another will take.
You cannot hurry decrees of fate.
As for me, I sing to myself.
The following
jeu d’esprit
is on the serious theme of “Final
Parting” :
When my girl left me,
I put on my new suit
and went down to the cafe.
And there were three men:
and thin,
and fat.
And the fat one had two red flowers
on his chest.