Page 187 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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GOLDSMITH/YIDDISH BARD OF ISRAELS REBIRTH
1 7 9
Polish trees.14 In another of his Holocaust poems, “To God
in Heaven,” Papiernikov writes:
I f I believed in God in heaven
I ’d turn away from Him today:
I ’ve served You long enough
With prayers and thanks and praise!
Enough o f a merciful and gracious God
Who was blind and deaf,
Saw not and heard not
As
toward the gates o f mercy
There stretched from the hellish earth
A sea o f hands, of pleading hands
A sea o f eyes with supplications and cries
From the forest o f Jews that burned (and burns)
On the burning, alien soil o f Exile . . .
(From “Tsu Got in Himl”)
The negative attitude of the literary and political establish­
ments in Israel to Yiddish angered Papiernikov and often made
him bitter. The tragedy of Yiddish in Israel is expressed in
the cycle “The Sorrow of Yiddish.”
My Yiddish poem inside me cries
Like a lonely orphan child:
I had a home, a father and a mother,
Sisters, brothers
now I ’m all alone.
They are all gone, those
Who caressed me, warmed me,
Protected me. And now? Oh God!
Take pity on me please.
Open a door and let me in.
I have much to tell you,
I have much to relate
And so many wounds that need healing.
Let me unburden myself
To a familiar open ear
That can accept along with the shout of joy
The silent cry o f sorrow.
I don’t want to expire among my own
A foreigner with my mother’s tongue
In the land o f second beginning where
My brethren speak the Bible’s tongue.
14. For Bialik’s poem see H.N. Bialik,
Lider un Poemen,
New York, 1935, p. 42.
For Papiernikov’s see J. Papiernikov,
Iber Khurves,
Tel Aviv, 1967, p. 43.