Page 149 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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RAVID / EISIG SILBERSCHLAG
139
Having thus characterized Silberschlag’s writing, we shall now
consider his books of poetry and describe them briefly. His first
book, entitled
In Lonely Path (Bi-Shevilim Bodedim
) , was pub­
lished in New York in 1931. I t includes many love poems, bu t
the young poet turns his attention also to the medieval Hebrew
poet Solomon Ibn Gabirol, and evokes his greatness and suffer­
ings in a longer poem.
Silberschlag’s second book is of a different nature.
R ise, World,
in Song
(
Aleh , Olam, be-Shir
), which appeared in 1946, is re­
plete with biographical sketches. I t depicts great Hasidic lead­
ers like Nahman of Bratzlav and renowned Hebrew poets like
Judah Halevi, and Tschernichowsky. I t is almost twice the length
of the first book and its poetry is vigorous in style and texture.
Dome of Days (Kimrom Yamai)
is Silberschlag’s th ird book
of poetry. I t was published in Israel in 1959, appearing well
after the achievement of Israel independence. Small wonder that
the poet devoted his talents to the theme of redemption and
revival both prior to and following the establishment of the
State. Two poems in this collection are deserving of special note:
“Jerusalem” (
Yerushalayim
) and “A Decade”
(Asor),
commemo­
rating the tenth anniversary of the State of Israel.
My Letters to O ther Generations
(Iggerotai El Dorot Aherim),
published in 1971, highlights two main themes: Jewish life in
America and the revolutionary Space Age. But the poet also
eulogizes his beloved wife, Milka of blessed memory. And he
has included poems on a variety of other themes and topics,
such as the archetypal patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
T he poet’s fifth book of verse,
Each End has a Beginning
(Yesh Resh it le-Khol Aharit)
appeared only recently, in 1976.
This book comprises a number of sections: poems devoted to
the author’s spiritual autobiography; poems to his late wife;
epigrams and lyrics which express philosophical truths; poems
which refract the metaphysical realities of the Far East; and
translations from the poems of Pablo Neruda.
In one of his poems, the poet says: “By the decree of my fate
did I become a poet.” Poetry for Silberschlag is an integral part
of his life. Philosophy has its limits, bu t poetry has none, and
often, in an epigrammatic poem of a few lines, the poet can
embrace a world of meaning. The muse has not abandoned him