Page 163 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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Russian army. After demobilization, he resumed his literary ca­
reer until 1948, when all publishing in Yiddish ceased. After
Stalin’s death, his poems could again appear but only in Russian
translation. In 1968, he was finally permitted to publish a vol­
ume of poetry, but in that very year he surprised the Moscow
authorities by applying for a visa to Israel. For this heresy, he
was expelled from the Writers’ Union.
In 1972, a year after his arrival in Israel, the poems of his
Russian experiences appeared under the title
Geveyn fun Zikom.
These include the war lyrics he composed amidst the fire and
smoke of the battlefields. The tender-hearted, compassionate
poet, who felt the pain even of a naked leaf, torn from a tree
by a cruel wind and no longer able to absorb the life-giving
dew, described his greater pain when he had to leap forth from
the trenches to kill human beings like himself. He shuddered
at the sight of a barefooted, weeping, orphaned little girl who
lost her way and ran about in the trenches. He could not exult
in Russia’s triumph when he led his battalion into a conquered
town whose Jews had numbered in the thousands on the eve
of war and who now numbered merely seventeen survivors.
When he met a Greek on the shores of the Black Sea who longed
for Greece, his own longing intensified for a land he dared
not even mention. He could only sigh and silently reflect how
happy he would be to exchange the mighty, victorious land,
which still regarded him as a stranger, for the little land so
far, far away.
Telesin’s wife, Rochel Boimvol, had attained great popularity
with her children’s songs and stories, especially when these were
translated into many languages and attained editions surpassing
those of any other Yiddish writer. However, when Jewish cul­
tural activities were suppressed, her longing for the vanished
world of her own childhood, her grandmother’s world, gained
strength from year to year, a longing that could only be sated
in the Jerusalem of her dreams. When she finally got to Je ­
rusalem, she published her poems in 1972 under the title
(Longing Fulfilled). The volume contained idyllic de­
scriptions of nature, songs of love, thinly veiled allegories of
the tragic fate meted out to Jewish children who matured du r­