Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dan Pagis’ “Testimony”

Holocaust Poetry

Dan Pagis [born in 1930 in Bukovina, Romania—died in 1986 in Jerusalem, Israel]. Poetry International writes: “Pagis reached Mandatory Palestine in 1946, after spending part of his adolescence in a Nazi concentration camp. He was at first a teacher on a kibbutz. He received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he later became professor of medieval Hebrew literature, the author of eight books of poetry and six volumes of scholarship.” Pagis needed some distance, not only in space bit also in time, to write about the Holocaust, which he started to do with his third book, Gigul (“Transformation”), published in 1970. .I was a shade/A different creator made me. (And millions of others, too.) For more go [here] and [here] and [here].
Photo CourtesyPoetry International & Voices Educational Project

by Dan Pagis

No no: they definitely were
human beings: uniforms, boots.
How to explain? They were created
in the image.

I was a shade.
A different creator made me.

And he in his mercy left nothing of me that would die.
And I fled to him, rose weightless, blue,
forgiving–I would even say: apologizing–
smoke to omnipotent smoke
without image or likeness.