Page 117 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

Basic HTML Version

SILBERSCHLAG / HARRY SACKLER
111
cloud from the primal desolation, he mixed them and they
were one dot.
That dot is the soul of man: a mixture of light and darkness.
When you meet with a lustful glance from a young girl, light
conquers darkness and you see the whole world bathing in a
sea of light.
But when you find no interpretations to your dreams and
your soul is soaked in sorrow, you must know that darkness
conquered light and you see the whole world bathing in a sea
of darkness. And the Creator sits on the top of his world and
a luminous smile hovers on his lips.
We are blind, we don’t see the light and we don’t recognize
the darkness. Everything depends on what is outside us. We
only feel.
A mixture of light and darkness: that is man.
There is neither light nor darkness in the world, there is
only twilight.
And perhaps that is terrestrial beauty.
Sackler’s first poem-in-prose reads like an attempt at an original
myth of creation and a reminiscence of a midrash: The creation
of numberless worlds preceded the creation of our present world.
Again like a midrash, the poem operates with a few key concepts:
light and darkness, the universe and its Creator. But the boy-girl
syndrome woven into the myth of creation — that is the playful
addition of an original twist to the myth. Yet Sackler did not
choose to cultivate the mythic and poetic qualities of his inspira­
tion in poetical form. He preferred fiction and drama to poetry:
they contained the essence of his literary vision. If he moved with
ease from story to play, from play to story, it was because he made
no hard distinctions between the two genres: “their roots grow in
the soil of reality and their topmost branches flourish in an air of
vision and imagination.” Theme and plot dominate the play and
the story. The quantitative differences — brevity of the play,
length of the novel — tip the scale in favor of the play in Sackler’s
opinion. With the rise of the curtain the partition between spec­
tator and spectacle is removed instantaneously. The actors and
directors, the music and the dance and, last but not least, the
manipulation of lighting effects — they all serve to minimize the
passive resistance of the spectator to the author. These arguable
notes of Sackler have one point in their favor: They are the