A Poetic Portrait, Translated from Yiddish, of a Snow-Filled Journey

June 18 2018

One of the greatest Yiddish poets of the 20th century, Avraham Sutzkever wrote the poem quoted below in 1983 while living in Israel. Its images perhaps reflect the six years he spent in Siberia, where he had fled with his family from the Pale of Settlement during World War I. The poem, in a new translation by Maia Evrona, begins thus:

Am I seeing, from a speeding train, young trees covered in snow
for the first time, for the last, or are crowned white nurses twisting,
turning and gliding by, charmingly disturbing,
and in the balance of their gazes: life and death, life and death?

This long corridor is shorter than a moment, perhaps,
I may still manage to comfort my companion, perhaps,
a nurse shows the way: a door at this very corner,
the white nurse freely provides a faint glimmer.

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Read more at Pakn-Treger

More about: Arts & Culture, Avraham Sutzkever, Poetry, Siberia, Yiddish literature

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy