Page 103 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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GOLDSMITH / LEVICK’S QUEST
9 5
March to the shore of the land.
At the head with pen in hand will march the youngest,
With a great to-do he’ll smatter his pen to bits,
He’ll throw it to the ground and we’ll all follow
In this march from East Broadway to the Brooklyn Bridge.
From the Bridge to Brownsville and Flatbush and Brighton,
To Coney Island and Seagate and to the Atlantic Ocean,
And to the waves, to far, fa r off distances,
In the stormy whirlpool
we’ll throw our last rhyme.
Then we’ll all stand by the shore of the Atlantic
and watch the waves tower in foam
In anger or praise for poets who, by themselves,
Gave the fluttering of their dream away to the abyss.
And afterwards?
afterwards, faithful to the dream
We’ll part and search out the broken point of a pen
And write a new song, a lamentation on the funeral,
And we’ll write it ecstatically, in trance supreme!
(Hislahavesdik, Mit Hekhstn Bren!)
A constantly recurring word in Leivick’s poetry through the
years has been the word
eybik
— eternal. It occurs in his reminis­
cences of his childhood, in the title of one of his most famous
poems, and again in the title of his final volume of verse:
Lider
Tsum Eybikn
(Songs to the Eternal, 1959). The word links the poet
to the Divine Presence and simultaneously conveys intimations of
personal and collective immortality.
Father leads me by the hand to the synagogue
The day is bright and sunny.
The day is
holy day.
My hand
in father’s right hand.
My hand
a little hand
In father’s
a big, warm hand,
Secure in the holiness of rest,
Guarded and protected by God, praised be He.
The day is
Passover.
We cross the wide, empty market place.
Father walks and I jump behind him.
His narrow shoulders rise to the sky,
His red beard smiles to the sun.
Father walks and I dance behind him.
My small shadow dances into his,
My small shadow barely reaches his knees.
Today father is as mild as the holy day.