Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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GOLDSMITH / LEVICK’S QUEST
8 9
tofore lacked words.”8 Leivick’s relationship with words was
unique in the annals of world literature. He expected words to
behave morally. “He strongly demanded of the word that it
‘adjust’ its private life to the role it plays publicly in the poem.
This conception of the word, as a living soul with consciousness
and responsibility, of which moral demands could be made, is
one of Leivick’s infrequent concurrences with Yiddish folklore.”9
During his last trip to Israel, in 1957, Leivick wrote a poem in
which he opened the “cages” in which he kept his words so that
they might wander freely through the hills of Jerusalem.
On your soil, Jerusalem,
I love to be silent.
For my words I open
All their cages.
I let them out
With complete freedom
And thank and praise them
For their exceptional loyalty.
I liberate them and say:
Over the mountains all about,
Over the hills ofJerusalem,
Fly freely, my precious ones.
Choose the most sacred places
For they are all yours,
And rest, yes rest on them.
Leave me in seclusion
With my dream
Of having just one minute
Of complete peace with myself.
On your soil, Jerusalem,
Silence goldens by day
And turns blue at night
Suddenly I say to myself:
Is this where Isaiah stood?
Is this the very place ?
8 A. Tabachnik,
Dikhter un Dikhtung,
New York, 1965, p. 280.
9 S. Bickel,
op. cit.,
p. 101.