שווייגנדיקע טירן - לידער  - "Mute Doors"

Book Published by the Help of the Yiddish Club, New York 1962.

"Der Tag" - Morgen Zournal - "The Day" 15.5.1962

By Dr. S. Margoshes

Wanted: A Poet of distinction to translate from Yiddish into English Rajzel Zychlinsky's latest opus "Shweigendike Tiren". I wish I could take the job myself to facilitate the enjoyment of first rate Yiddish poetry, But, alas, the role is beyond me; I just do not qualify.

The best I can do is to report that, after opening the "Shweigendike Tiren", the reader will find the kind of great poetry to which one had been used years and years ago, before the era of T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound and the so called modernists, who, by their cult of unintelligibility, have made a mockery of the esthetic enjoyment of the poetic arts. Rajzel Zychlinska is both simple and intelligible. and as authentic as could be. Reading her lines you get the hang of it at first glance. Subsequently re-reading the verses, you become aware of great depth of feeling As well as of brilliance of imagery. The more you read the more you are tempted to enter Rajzel's world, and an enchanting world it is.

Rajzel's poetry is a magic lantern casting its own circle of light and mood on everything it approaches. In four lines or so, she entraps you into a mood, from which you can escape only at great peril to your own equanimity. Take this brief poem "Vos Schwimt Dort Oyfen Hudson" and try to shed the dark mood, if you can:

"Vos schwimt dort oyfen Hudson
In royten licht?
Ver schreit dort -'rateve'
"Mir gaeyn unter"-
Dos zeinen di toyte meine
Di farbrente
Vos gaeyn unter noch amol
In mein zikoren."

Or can one resist the magic of the kind of poem, so strongly reminiscent of the early Lutuzky, and in which nature itself becomes animated and filled with mood?

"A kind is krank
Beigen blumen di kep arop:
Shuldik!
Di topole hot arumgenumen mit
di hent
Dem ahtroyenem dach.

Un kukt zich cys di alte oygen
Oyfen veg:
S'iz fartog do adurchgegangen
A betler,
Un durcheshniten di neplen.
Di kvoke hot aruntergenumen unter
Ire fliglen
Di fuftzen gele hindelech
Un fri gemacht nacht.
Di katz ligt eingenuret in a knoll
In vink!
Un mrotchet, mrotchet
Un dos benkl oyf drei fis
Horcht un chulemt."

Such verses wave to you from every page of Rajzel's book.

If you did not get the full flavor of these marvelous poems, all I can say is that not I, but you are to blame, and that deserves you right: you should have learned Yiddish! Nor is it too late now, if you really wish to enjoy the kind of fine poetry you do not encounter in English these days.

 

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Last Updated December 2nd, 2003

 

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