Page 184 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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1 7 6
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
HIS QUALITIES
Papiernikov’s poems about Eretz Yisrael neither sentimental­
ize nor idealize. They avoid the temptation to lapse into pro­
phetic, philosophical or mystical vagaries. Instead, “they stand
beneath the windows of the beloved land and serenade it and
its people.”8 They are rich in imagery, rhythm, feeling and po­
etic diction. “His poetry is sometimes prayer and at other times
song. Even his enthusiastic odes to the pioneers, the first young
builders and planters of Eretz Yisrael, resound not with con­
ventional pathos but with Yiddish melodiousness and warmth.”9
When I lack a fresh, clear beverage
I go down to the Emek’s depths
Or ascend to my brothers in Galilee.
They let me drink o f their song
And I depart with new poems
Earthy poems, of earthy joys and sorrows:
Poems o f smashing, plowing, sowing
Poems o f harvest and ingathering
So that granary and silo swell,
Poems o f yards with chickens, cows and sheep
And future generations o f children,
Poems o f flaming evenings
When folks come home as i f from fields o f battle,
Poems o f shepherds heard
In the morning and at night,
Poems o f rest and peace behind gates
Where silence too has ears,
Poems of the watchman listening while on duty
To the songs o f earth and sky.
When I lack a fresh, clear beverage
I go down to the Emek’s depths
Or ascend to my brothers in Galilee.
(“Felt Mir O y s . . . ”)
Papiernikov’s poems, despite their clarity and folklike quality,
often reveal deep feeling and serious reflection. They betray
“reserves of difficult personal experiences, familiarity with the
8. M. Ravitsh, “Vegn Tsvey Bikher,”
D i Goldene Keyt,
no. 22, Tel Aviv, 1955,
p. 196.
9. J. Kerler, “Getseylte Verter vegn Papiernikovn,”
Yerusholaymer Almanakh,
no.
17, Jerusalem, 1987, p. 28.