Page 182 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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tion is personified as
dayn getrayer,
(“your beloved”), with differ­
ent results than in “Tuesday.”:
Dawn to dusk, your hands and eyes
Bent over sewing
girl, don’t cry.
Tomorrow it shall come to pass:
Your worries will die like poisoned mice.
On that day, in iron and stone,
Men will roar like bears, while women,
Old men, and babies at the breast
Chase down robbers and arsonists.
My girl
what a fire! Your beloved is coming
To carry you off, on bird wings.
p. 21)
This messianic, cataclysmic vision of retribution predicts anarchy
and destruction, not a more just distribution of wealth and
power, as envisioned in poems by Edelshtat and Rosenfeld. The
girl will be rescued by a winged beloved, and will presumably not
find happiness in
world. The world as she knows it will be
destroyed in the prophetic promise. The prophet (echoing Mi-
cah) gives her no clear vision of the world to come.
In Halpern’s poems, the immigrant’s desire for the fulfillment
of promise -—expectations for material comfort, romance, or so­
cial justice — is balanced by the immigrant’s longing for the past,
the world he left behind. Halpern’s poems study and exploit the
immigrant’s dilemma, as he found himself between two worlds,
in derfremd,
away from home, in both the Old World
and the New. In “Homesick,” Halpern succinctly depicts the futil­
ity of such nostalgia:
Long fo r home and hate your homeland:
Be a branch broken
From a withered tree.
Be a fleck of ash
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