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בן אדם, קום ברח המדברה

על תכונת הפיפיות של לשון יידיש לפי שירו של ביאליק 'אין שחיטה-שטאט' (גירסה ביידיש של 'בעיר ההרגה')

...ביאליק שמע בקולה של אירה יאן, אך כאילו 'להכעיס' הוא כתב בשנת 1908 את 'שירי הים' שלו ביידיש, בשפה שאינה שגורה בפיה (האם ביקש שלא תוכל ידידתו לדעת שדבריה קלעו ללבו ונשאו פרי?). בשירו מתואר הלילה הארץ - ישראלי היורד על המשורר שהגיע לחוף המזרח - בין שהוא ריה"ל ובין שהוא ביאליק. אין זה לילה רגיל, כי אם יפהפייה כושית מנומרת בצבעי זהב ותכול...

Ode to the West Wind (On Bialik's "Yam lider" ['Sea Songs'])

Bialik composed his sea poems ("Yam lider") in Yiddish in 1908 and published them in a Zionist-oriented anthology just before his first visit to Eretz Yisrael in 1909. The small cycle of three pseudo-naive poems was defined by the poet as a translation from the prominent medieval poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. However, this cycle of poems is, in fact, a free adaptation of diverse motifs from Halevi, imbued with contemporary colours and revealing Bialik's intimate secrets. On the personal level Bialik was split at that time between his duties as family man and national poet on the one hand, and his great desire to forsake all frameworks and break all conventions on the other. His friend and lover, the painter Irah Yan, encouraged him to leave home and start a new life far from Odessa; Bialik was ambivalent, torn apart by desires and duties. On the national level, this was the time of the harsh conflict between the devout advocates of Yiddish (who at the 1908 Czernowitz Conference demanded that Yiddish be declared a national tongue) and the poet's inner conviction that the renaissance of Hebrew is a sine qua non for the forthcoming national revival in the Land of Israel. Hence, Bialik wrote these Zionist poems ("Yam lider") in the language of the Jewish masses, telling his ideological adversaries in an indirect and subtle way that if he turns to the writing of poems in Yiddish, it is merely for ideological purposes, and not because he agrees with their credo. Indeed, the role of these poems in many Zionist circles has been long acknowledged.

Appendix. Kh. N. Bialik: Sea Poems (Original and Translation)


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