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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

August 15, 1911

August 15


“Darkness there and nothing more.”

A fine pearl of the 19th century.* This is just declamation, the search for affective words, the pose of unhappiness--a lie.


Darkness--yes, but in the darkness there glows a weak, weak spark. Do I know of love? No, it seems. Was I worthy? Whoever loves one soul, loves and is of God.** My heart was dying, dead, and full of joy.


Not joy. One must be worthy of that, but hope and some unclear expectation. Then, at that time when I believed--I do everything to destroy myself, so why do I now believe that something waits for me? And I am full of gratitude, and guilt and helplessness.


A trembling spark flickers in the darkness. I must protect the spark. Perhaps a flame will come of it?


A sleepless night in which the vacant eyes, the eyes which terrify me, did not look. Trembling, I waited, that some kind of joy might come. Finally, I fell asleep. Dreams, one after another. Of what--I don’t remember. But this has remained in my memory: people in a house, running, everything pushing. Suddenly it all collapses--walls and floors. But I got out. I don’t know how it happened. But I am full of shock and wonder.

What does the dream mean?


By Moyshe Varshe

Translated by Corbin Allardice


*- Literally, Varshe writes “a fine melitse,” melitse being a complex term referring to certain strands of Hebrew literature. Robert Alter characterizes meltise thusly: “Melitsah is a term that means poetry (or perhaps one should say “poesy”), rhetoric, and, in the eighteenth and nineteenth, the high-flown biblical phrase. Biblical poetry in particular was mined for such phrases: merely to invoke a figure of speech, a rhetorical maneuver, a recherché term from Isaiah, Job, Psalms, or Song of Songs was felt to imprint a magic, to confer a special status onan idea of object...the melitsah, lifted from its classical Hebrew contexts and slapped down on contemporary realities, was meant by its mere application to give the dignity of the ages to contemporary objects of representation.” Robert Alter, The Invention of Hebrew Prose (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1988), 23-24.

**- Literally, "in God."


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