After the Yiddish of Mikhl Likht
Calm to no avail in classic banalities
& offtimes magic clown
not from breeding:
Your pages — my out-dated prophecies.
Your book — sesame for my psychic aventuras.
I make a pact with you as you
made a pact with the “Good Grey Poet” :
I am also a condemned scrap of ordinary dust.
The sun from far-off Idaho
rises colored ribbons
from his troubadour-tree.
The arrogant eyes
shine on once-sophistic(ated)
thru gold-dust from a medieval chorale
with forced shimmer
from Rihaku’s Cathay-creations;
with Haman’s poisonous blood-evil sickness.
Idaho-cool air in Arnaut Daniel’s rich
breath subtle with the pronunciation of “La Dolche
Like everything that’s more sinister than intimate.
The rhetoric of Camões is his Shatzer’s rhetoric.
In Dante-Odess, with a well-wrought burden,
an alchemist, a romancer.
(Naturally, the past attracts in dust piles:
Today is the day dressed in a well known sun-mode:
All-known is the address where one receives one’s sun-dress).
It conjured the imported Spanish pavane
& paired incomprehensible oppositions
with Haman’s public blood-evil.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE. Mikhl Likht (1893-1953) was a Yiddish American poet, critic, editor & translator, whose radical masterwork, Protsesiyes [Processions], accompanies &, in some cases, pre-figured the long poem experiments of English poets, Pound, Loy, Eliot, Williams & Zukofsky, with all of whom he was in contact. “E.P,” which appears in Likht’s Yiddish collection, Vazon [Vessel, 1928], addresses head-on the stagnation of Pound’s panculturalist anti-Semitism & “betters the instruction” (to quote a young Zukosky quoting Shylock). Likht published the first stanza of “E.P.” as an English poem called, “To the Author of Lustra.” under the pseudonym, Max Licht Sonin, in the little magazine, The Pagan in 1918. (A.R.)