Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Myth of the Eternal Jew

Jews have inspired a remarkable range of mythic images and fantasies. Often those that revile the Jew most viciously, display a profound awe and fear at the same time. For example, the nazis could not compete with the Jew on a level playing field, seeing "him" as too powerful and dangerous, too successful in controlling the minds and obtaining wealth in the society.

I have decided to explore this myth from a Jewish perspective, painting some portraits of faces and personalities, and composing some landscapes and the tragic and miraculous events that take place within them. And embedded in these tales, the hidden immanence of the Divine, as much here with us as it is absent.

This, the opening scene, probably not what you expect:

Miths ov the Ternel Jew

Here I stand, ammung hem tall aeks,
Brambellen bush I am up to my nek.
Louk I over a rivver, its wayz,
Its musselz rippel, o ellaggen, streng.

Down at the shor, all pebbel and sans,
Dans the gerlz, like the rivver thay sway.
Gownz an vaelz all likwiddee wet.
Brests thay sway, thiez a trembel.
Like the tinee waevz tu glitterree sun.

Siy. Du yu heer it? Aspiyerz the wind,
An divvine seeng ov the siyrennee gerlz
Drifts like the mists on the fiyeree wotter.
Don iz kum but the aenjelz doent see me.
Don iz kum. Wy kant yu see me?

This my parabbel now I tell
Ov the ternen Jew, him noktern seeng.
Not even he kan see the don,
And all ov us at the rivver side.
Seeng we dans an taest ov song
But not we understan ov fiyer.
Trembel thi, an sway owwer brest,
And we, messsiyaz, all ov us.
Yes, yu ar tu. Kant yu see?

Dreem on sleeper in yur noktern day.
Woch for hem Jew. Will he retern?
Wut du yu see, o dreemer a dreemz?
That Jew yu see, an yu ar he.
This my parabbel. I that Jew,
And I will tell yu hu yu ar,
And I will tell abowt how far
Frum the donnee rivver and the fade a star.

Take my hand, o dreemee wokker
And let us wok intu the wotter...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jerusalem, city of peace

The derivation of "Jerusalem," or more accurately "Yerushalliyim" in Hebrew, is "city of peace." Alas. In my post "Natural Gradients" I discuss "Dar al Islam" and "Dar al Harb." You may want to refer to that post if you don't understand what follows.

The following poem postulates a third region, distinct from Islam's Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb (roughly, the Islamic regions of the world, and the regions that are yet to be converted to Islam, "dar" being "region"). This third region is the Dar ov Yoesheya, where "Yoesheya" is the Hebrew for redeemer or redemption. It's grammatical variant, "Moesheya", "that which brings redemption," is another way to refer to this region. Yet a third way is "Israel."

Sittee a Pese, Dar al Yoesheya

Battalyanz aswormen Yerrushalliyim:
Baddel on, o worreyer krass.
Woshen the kobbelz and ashfalt in blud
Then klenz the blud in raen a sarro.
This hows a pese, a howlz a wor.

But a day iz here tho the raen iz por
And a salm iz hum, lissen, lissen klose.
Sittee ov pese an aretz a pese,
A sing arrizzen frum morter and mort.

Tho kingz and kalifs and konkerz kum
Tu brake theze wall, tu bild them pallas,*
                        *others say howlzen,
Oenlee wun Tempel astand in this plase
Tempel a Lor and the Lorz redeem.

Here iz not the LiyonHart grael
Nor evver kontroel ov the Brutish mand.
An here iz alzo not Dar al Islom,
This bak-woddee hole ov kalif land.

An here iz not the Dar al Wor
Ware grabberz grabben and rajerz ror.
Sittee ov Pese iz the Dar ov Hoesheya
Portel ov redeemenz, thay rize and teech.

This therd rejen, haf ov this werl
And haf abbuv iz haf belo.
Raechel an Laya ar wall ov the Plase
Ware moesheyakhs* wok, ware redeemen begin.
                        *Hebrew for “messiah”

Iz Dar ov Moesheya, not ov this werl
Haz a serven preest with a preestee kast.
Yisroyel an hiz mennee shaddiy
Kast by the Lor, kast frum the Lor,
Shaddiy kast ov the Holeyess Lite.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lost in Ertha

Continuing with my revisions towards a fair copy of The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Bouk 6, Gottesverdammerung: In the End ov Time, here is a scene as the nazi war machine overruns a Jewish village in Poland.

A few terms: “Shtettel” is the Yiddish word for “little town” or “village” from the German “stadt.” A “khussid” is a very pious Jew. The two deeply indented stanzas at the beginning of the poem reference an earlier scene in The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming (Levvel 1:1) and an earlier poem series (Elegies en Nance) with a related theme. You can view a slideshow of an illuminated version of Elegies en Nance on Shivvetee.com. Here’s a direct link: http://www.shivvetee.com/theaters/slide_show_elegies/sld001.html.

I Tryd Tu Rezist

                    I tryd tu rezist
                    But then loukt bak.
                    In the rizing Soel
                    Her feecherz touk shape...
                    – Levvel 1:1

Tuday I am nuthing but a shaddo
     And yu ar a Khussid praying,
     Yur boddee a tempel, engulft in fiyer.
                    Today I am nothing but a body
                    And You are a spirit escaping,
                    Rising out of a fire.
                    – Elegies en Nance

Torn frum the handz that wer kasting me.
     Like a potter hu haz throne a pot,
     Kast and spun and eezd it intu shaep,
     And az he lifts it frum the weel
     It slips and kollapsez at hiz feet...

So my God haz kast me frum my huzband.
     Skoopt me frum hiz klay pit,
     Spun me in Hiz Soel,
     Shaept me in Hiz handz;
     Dropt me and left me a shatterz,
           Wile my huzband iz bernd in a kiln.

My God iz kast me owt ov my shtettel:
     The shist we chizzeld tu pile owwer wawlz,
     The klay we pakt tu fase owwer huts,
     The mud that gusht intu owwer shuez;
     The rokkee feeldz that broke owwer plowz;
          That iz my bone, my tung, my hart.

But now a mashene rumbelz down streets,
     It krushez owwer gaets, owwer dorpoests, owwer hoemz,
     It bernz owwer feeldz, it swalloez wut is left.
     Wut du we hav ov valew tu steel?
          Areyanz hav trampeld on owwer saekred skroelz.

I ternd awway and then ternd bak.
     I koud see my streets; even pebbelz and puddelz,
          The krouked windoez and krankee widdoez.
          The Sabbath songz wer lilting on the aer;
     Ower praerz roze up, and fell bak, weeping.
          Now the howl ov Areyanz, rape and skreem.