“What Stillness Illuminates/ Vos shtilkavt hot baloykhtn”, Poems by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub— Extending the Narrative

Taub, Yermiyahu Ahron. “What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn”, Parlor Press, 2008.

Extending the Narratives

Amos Lassen

One thing for certain is that life is not static and as we move through it we face many different choices. All of us have had our lives changed by the choices we have made and that is what poet Yermiyahu Ahron Taub shows us in “What Stillness Illuminated”. The poems are the beginnings and we are to take them beyond what is written so that the conclusions are ours.

Taub’s own experience as an artist’s model is the inspiration for this collection of short poems (with two in Hebrew as well as English and others in both Yiddish and English). The model experience explains the stillness and that very stillness is what the artist brought to life or illuminated. Taub in his short poems brings other “stillnesses” to illumination. Each poem shines in its own way and the light that each shares is based upon memories from the past.

Each poem is five lines but in those five lines is a great deal of power and detail. As we make our way through the poems, we make our way through those barriers to light—be they war, poverty, sexuality, whatever. As we come into the light and see the world, there is a sense of redemption.  Silence plays on sound as we are brought face to face with the emotions of change and fear, awareness and redemption, desire and completion. What grabs the reader are the images portrayed by the poems and reading them is like looking at a photograph rich in detail. Taub is mysteriously, almost playfully erotic as he fulfills his own challenge of brevity. He asks questions, gives few answers and he is able to give us in five short lines enough to lead us to think. Perhaps that is why this review is so short—I am still thinking about what I read and maybe one day I will come back and add something and maybe I won’t. Maybe you can add a conclusion. It seems to me that is what the poet wants us to do.

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