Page 245 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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WALDMAN /GLIMPSES OF JESUS IN YIDDISH AND HEBREW LITERATURE
237
flowers and the crystal apples,/ kiss with your mouth Mary Mag­
dalene.”
On a snowy day in Jerusalem Jesus walks and is followed
by women: “Mary Magdalene who loves him, walking with tears
of snow./And Miriam his mother, and Miriam mother of James,
and the other Miriam, and a Miriam of snow./ Follow him, dear
women, for the man is cold all alone in the snow.” In the final
poem, the poet states: “I saw the man of love/ walking to and
fro on the water./ The sun was the crown of his head./ The
earth was illuminated by his light.” He sees Jesus measuring
the earth and time, past and future. Jesus explains the mystery:
“The earth is a woman/ betrothed by her suffering./ The Mes­
siah’s flower out of her pain/ will bloom, its name is love./ And
I, who was dead,/ know that there is no other truth:/ I shall
be what I shall indeed be,/ only through love will I revive from
death.” While the soldiers guarding the grave are sleeping, Jesus
ascends to heaven, “melted in the light of his love.”
MOZART AS SYMBOL
Finally, a work by Jacob Glatstein (1896-1971) goes beyond
Jesus in its identification of a universal, positive cultural motif.
In the poem
Mozart
(1946),32 the one crucified is not the Gal­
ilean but the great Austrian composer. The language ironically
reflects Christian idiom: “I dreamed that/the gentiles crucified
Mozart/and buried him in a pauper’s grave./ But the Jews made
him a man of God/and blessed his memory./ I, his apostle, ran
all over the world,/ converting everyone I met,/ and whenever
I caught a Christian/ I made him a Mozartian.”
The background o f this poem is the Holocaust, led by another
Austrian, with its rejection of humanity and culture. The de­
voted apostles of general European culture, far beyond their
proportion in the population, have been the rejected Jews. West­
ern culture, represented by Mozart, has been crucified by anti-
Semitism, which has historic links to Christianity. Mozart, who
poured human warmth into his music, also has a Christ aspect:
he died young, penniless and neglected.
The poem continues ironically, “How wonderful is the mu­
32. Ruth Whitman, editor and translator,
An Anthology of Modem Yiddish Poetry
(New York: 1966), 9.