Page 243 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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portant little devils. The entertainer at the wedding, i.e. the
poet, the artist, extends himself and cannot make them enjoy
themselves. The art that should give meaning to life is not strong
enough to overcome cynicism and ridicule. The imps can only
grin and bleat ‘no’. This is the only word they utter. Panic grips
those assembled for the wedding. The bride becomes terrified
by dark foreboding. The groom turns pale. The party is nearly
ended, the wedding is almost about to dissolve. With one last
effort the entertainer, the poet, unmasks the gainsayers. With
the magic of rhymes ‘freshly branched’ the bride is ‘easily un-
blanched,’ and the false, pathetic little prophets of non-existence
must willy-nilly say amen to every blessing. Optimism is force-
fully victorious.
“Such optimism resounded in Alef Katz when it was his duty
as editor of the Yiddish department of the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency to tell the Jewish world the fearful news of the Nazi
holocaust. The poet was not stifled by the news. From the last
Jew who remained alive in his home town he received the gift
of a glass eye, an ancient mirror, from which there glows the for-
gotten world which emerges as it would from a town chronicle.
And from it there beams an alphabet ray which shines in the
poet’s verse. Thus with play he stays the outcry of his heart.
In this playing and staying and in smashing the word and expos-
ing its secrets, lies Alef Katz’s strength and we offer him our sin-
cere gratitude for his poems.”