Ryhor Baradulin (1935-2014). If only Jews were here! The book of respect and friendship

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КУЛЬТУРА, НАЦЫЯ, №18, чэрвень 2017 ISSN 2291-4757

Zina Gimpelevich: “Ryhor Baradulin (1935-2014). If only Jews were here! The book of respect and friendship

Zina Gimpelevich, Professor Emeritus of Slavic Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada; BINiM, Canada. http://binim.org/

Васіль Быкаў лічыў свайго малодшага сябра Рыгора Барадуліна найлепшым Беларускім паэтам усіх часоў. Сапраўды, суайчыньнікі Народнага паэта цешацца яго камічным вершам не меньш, чым “сур’ёзным,” на біблейскую тэму, а таксама удзячныя Барадуліну за развіцьцё сучаснай літаратурнай крытычнай думкі, прозы, журналістыцы і перакладу. Яго спадчына нашаму народу: больш чым 70 кнігаў. Г. Барадулін быў двойчы намініраваны ў якасьці кандыдата на Нобелеўскую літаратурную прэмію. Я упэўненая, што толькі тое што не існуе выдатных перакладаў яго твораў на заходнія мовы перашкодзілі яму яе атрымаць. У той жа час, ён сам быў таленавітым перакладчыкам, што паэт даказаў не толькі першакласнымі перакладамі з больш чым дзясяткаў моў, але і сваёй апошняй кнігай: «Каб толькі яўрэі былі! Кніга павагі і сяброўства». У гэтай кнізе, якая не мае аналагу ў сусветнай літаратуры, Барадулін распаведвае аб дабрачыннай шматвекавай гісторыі паміж хрысьціанскімі і яўрэйскімі беларусамі, напісаў шмат вершаў, прысвечаных Богу, суайчыннькам, а таксама 12 эсэ аб прадстаўніках беларускай культуры, выхадцоў з яўрэяў Беларусі. Але самае галоўнае, ён пераклаў з беларускага ідыш (мовы літвакоў) шмат цудоўных вершаў, аб якіх мы б ніколі не ведалі, каб не праца нашага Паэта, Патрыёта і Чалавека.

According to his eldest friend, Vasil Bykaŭ, Ryhor Baradulin (1935-2014) was the greatest of all Biełarusian poets.1 Compatriots have loved Baradulin for his comic verse as much as for his “serious” poetry, prose, and journalism. Baradulin’s talent and versatility also enriched his country’s modern literary criticism and translation. Baradulin was a member of the Biełarusian Writer’s Union and the Biełarusian chapter of PEN (which he served as president from 1990 to 1999). He was the last Biełarusian to be awarded the title of People’s Poet (equivalent to the National poet). Baradulin. was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature twice (last time in 2006). I am certain that only a dearth of adequate translations into major European languages deprived the poet of that well-deserved honor. The official recognition, however, stopped when Alaksandr Lukašenka rose to power in 1994.

Nevertheless, Baradulin published close to seventy books, including poetry, essays, and a multitude of translations. In addition to other Slavic languages, his translations into Biełarusian from ten Western languages range from Shakespeare to Byron and Brecht. Moreover, he distinguished himself with superb translations from Yiddish. His last book, and we are concentrating on it in the current essay, is Tolki b habrei byli! Kniha pavahi i siabroŭstva (If only Jews were here! The book of respect and friendship).2 This volume is as profound and creative as his other works.

Its monolithic theme, the role of Biełarusian Jews in their motherland’s culture, isn’t novel in Biełarusian literature. Typically, throughout centuries, but, particularly in the twentieth century, every writer of stature included a Biełarusian Jew in his/hers narrative. Habitually Jews were given an equality of natives, and were called “our people” by these writers. Yet, no one before Ryhor Baradulin, wrote so persistently, passionately, lovingly, personally and wistfully about his compatriots of Jewish origin. And, to the best of my knowledge, If only Jews were here! The book of respect and friendship, has no parallel in any other literature by quantity and quality of material used. Perhaps Baradulin’s texts are so personal, even intimate, if you will, because all of the book’s characters (with an exception of Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934), were born and lived in Biełaruś. But even Bialik, Israel’s National poet (born in Volhynia, Ukraine, not Russia or Poland as most of his biographers claim), had a direct relation to Biełaruś. First, Bialik received his only formal education in Valožyn’s yeshiva.3 And this prodigy could had chosen any yeshiva in the world. Indeed, his knowledge of the Bible (Torah) and Talmud were unprecedented: even before he turned thirteen, Bialik was frequently consulted by experienced Rabbis. Second connection was discovered by Sorbonne’s scholar, Claire Le Foll.4 By the end of 1921, Bialik couldn’t leave the Soviet Empire without travel documents. The only place that granted him such documents was Miensk, the capital of Biełaruś.

Baradulin’s If only Jews were here! has three major chapters that represent various related genres. The first chapter is entitled “Stvaralniki vysokajie krasy (Creators of High Beauty);” it contains twelve essays dedicated to Biełarusian Jewish writers, poets, two artists, and one sculptor. This chapter also includes a few translations from Yiddish and Russian, as well as Baradulin’s poetry dedicated to the characters of his essays. The second chapter, “Galasy Nieŭmiručaha Choru” (Voices of an Immortal Choir) includes Baradulin’s translations from Yiddish to Biełarusian of one hundred and twenty-four poems, and one folk song. The third chapter, “Paplečnikam pa duchu, siabram pa žyćci” (To the spiritual brothers-in-arms and friends in life) presents Baradulin’s own poems. It consists of two parts, which carry the same subtitle, “Niezabytajie, viekaviečnajie,” (Unforgettable and immortal); each part is assigned a consequent Roman numeral, I and II. “Unforgettable and immortal I” has twelve poems dedicated to the Almighty, Jesus Christ, the city of Jerusalem, and connects historic Palestine to the Biełarusian spirituality and its landscape. “Unforgettable and immortal I” ends with five poems devoted to Chagall. “Unforgettable and immortal II” consists of forty-six poems dedicated to Baradulin’s personal friends. Both parts are profoundly philosophical and, at the same time, personal, lyrical, metaphorical and musical.

Ryhor Baradulin grew fascinated with Chagall’s artistic and literary work in the early 1970s, at a time when the artist’s name was still taboo for Soviet citizens. He never conformed to that Soviet position, therefore, it is not surprising that each out of three parts in Baradulin’s book presents Chagall as one of its principal protagonists. Thus, in the book’s opening chapter, the first essay, “Pastajaliec niabiosaŭ” (Lodger of heavens) is dedicated to Chagall. Baradulin offers there a powerful thesis that he will also develop in the next two chapters: “Mark Chagall followed in the footsteps of the great Renaissance artists, therefore, he is also a poet. He wanted to leave us a word because the word is stronger than a canvas … A word goes straight to God since the Word Itself is God.”5 We shall note that the largest number of translations from the book’s second chapter is Chagall’s poetry: total is thirty-four poems. Most Chagall’s titles are self-explanatory: “Kraina naradžeńnia” (My country of birth), “Baćka,” (Father) “Maci,” (Mother), “Siostry” (Sisters), “Sad,” (Garden), Maja žonka,” (My wife), “Peršy nastaŭnik” (My first teacher), “Maŭčyš ty… maja kraina” (My country… you are silent), and “Moj narod” (My people), among many others. Most of Chagall’s poetry translated by Baradulin are biographical and, correspondingly, portray the artist and his family at his country of birth. A few poems include Chagall’s reaction to the Holocaust. Among them is “Pamiaci mastakoŭ – achviaraŭ Chałakostu” (To the everlasting memory of artists – the Holocaust’s victims). This long and powerful narrative poem expresses Chagall’s sincere attempt to come to terms with his personal survival during the Holocaust. Chagall was able to transfer this anxiety creatively, by paying homage to the dead until the end of his life. Interesting to note that expressiveness of Chagall’s poem in Baradulin’s translation reached the heights of two other Biełarusian poems, “Akcyja” (Action) by Natalla Arsieńnieva (1903-1997) and “Ghetto” by Maksim Tank (1912-1995).6 All the three are written in the same year, in 1944, but in different parts of the globe (Chagall was in the US, Arsieńnieva in Germany, and Tank in Biełaruś). These three poems are the best articulation of grief about Holocaust and aversion to the Nazi’s annihilation of Jews, I ever came across in the world literature. Most translations into English are done from Baradulin’s translation, however, some excerpts are taken from Jackie Wullschlager’s 582-page critical biography, Chagall.7 The only drawback of her biography is that the author refers the artist’s birthplace as Russia. Like Baradulin, Wullschlager translated from Yiddish. Unlike her, Baradulin translated the entire poem, which, in turn, I translated into English.

Pamiaci mastakoŭ – achviaraŭ Chałakostu” (To the everlasting memory of artists – the Holocaust’s victims)
Ці ведаў іх усіх я? Ці наведаў Didn’t I know all of them?

Майстэрні іхнія? Ці бачыў я Didn’t I visit all of their ateliers?

Мастацтва іхняе здалёк ці зблізку? Didn’t I see their works from near and far?

Цяпер выходжу з год сваех, з сябе, Now I emerge from my years and myself,

Іду да іх магілы невядомай And I go to visit their unknown graves.

І клічуць, і з сабою ў яму цягнуць They call me, they call me to their dark fates,

Нявіннага віноўніка, мяне. Me, who is guilty without guilt.

Яны ў мяне пытаюць: They ask me:

Дзе ты быў? – Where have you been?

– Я ўцёк... – I ran away …8

Іх пацягнулі ў лазні смерці, They were led to the chambers of death,

Дзе паспыталі ўласны пот на смак. Where they learned the taste of their own sweat.

Тады яны пабачылі святло There they saw the light

Іх недавершаных карцін. Of their unfinished paintings.

Яны лічылі недажытыя гады, They counted their unlived years,

Якія ашчаджалі і чакалі, Which they cherished, and waited

Каб здзейсніцца маглі іх летуценні, To fulfil their dreams

Што недаспалі ці праспалі, зрэшты. Lost in their final sleep.

Яны вышуквалі ў сваех галовах In their heads, they sought and found

Куток маленства, дзе ў палоне зор A corner of nursery where captured by stars, circled

Прарочыла ім поўня светлы лёс. The full moon promised them a bright future.

Каханне юнае ў пакое цёмным Young love in dark rooms, the grass

У гарах, доле, на траве, чароўны On mountains, in valleys, the charmed fruit,

Заліты малаком, у кветках плод, Doused in milk and covered with flowers,

Рай абяцыны. Promised them paradise.

Рукі, вочы маці The hands of their mother, her eyes

Праводзілі ў шляхі далёкай славы. Accompanying them to the train, to their distant fame.
Іх бачу: босыя ў рыззі брыдуць Now I see them plodding along in rags, barefoot

Дарогамі знямелымі: Пісара, Суцін, On mute side roads: Pissarro, Soutine,

І Мадэльяні, нашыя браты, And Modigliani, our brothers –

І на вяроўках іх вядуць нашчадкі They are led with ropes

Хольбейна і Дзюрэра– На смерць – у пячы. By the sons of Dürer and Holbein – to death

На смерць – у пячы. Як жа мне заплакаць? In the crematoria. How can I, how should I shed tears?

Соль з’ела слёзы ўсе ў маіх вачах. My tears are brine,

Здзек іх павысушыў, каб я Mockery has dried them.

Сваю апошнюю надзею страціў. Thus I lost my last hope.9
Як плакаць мне, How could I cry,

Калі чуваць штодня, Every day I hear how

Што з даху рвуць апошнюю дашчыну That last piece of floor ripped off above my head,10

Ў мяне, калі знямог я ад вайны I am so sick from war

За лапінку зямлі, дзе я стаю, From ruined lands, where now I stand,

Зямлі, ў якую спаць я потым лягу. Soon to meet my end.11

А бачу я агонь, і дым, і газ, And I see the fire, the smoke, the gas

Што падымаюцца ў блакіт і чорным Reaching for the skies

Яго раптоўна робяць чорным Turning blue to black.

Я бачу: I see:

Павыдзертыя валасы і зубы. Torn hair and teeth.

Яны ў мой каларыт лютосць уносяць. Anger erupts on my palette.

Стаю ў пустэльні ля гары абутку, I am standing in a wasteland near the mountains

Апраткі, прыску, смецця, Of shoes, garments piled with trash; ashes.

Мармычу малітву за ўпакой нявінных душ I am whispering a prayer for innocent souls.

Стаю – і да мяне сыходзіць I am standing – and David suddenly ascending

З маіх карцін Давід. Трымае лютню. From my pictures. He holds a lute.

Ён хоча памагчы заплакаць мне, He wants to help me weep

Псалмы найграўшы. By playing psalms.

А за ім And Moses

ідзе Майсей, нікога не баяцца, кажа. Follows him. He tells me not be afraid.

Ён вам загадвае ляжаць спакойна, He orders you to be content,

Пакуль яшчэ раз не накрэсліць ён Until, again, he writes

Скрыжалі новыя для навасвецця Tablets for the new world.

Апошняя іскрынка гасне, цела The last spark has extinguished,

Апошняе знікае, толькі вусціш The last body has disappeared.

Трывае, як перад патопам новым. Only my fear stays, as if before new flood.

І я ўстаю, развітваюся з вамі, And I am getting up, and I bid you farewell,

І ў новы Храм свае кірую крокі And I am moving towards a New Temple,

І свечку стаўлю там And I light a candle

За кожную душу. For every single soul.12
The rest of the Chagall’s lyrics of later years, are dedicated mostly to Almighty. The latter poems are of different size and are written either in a form of confession, prayer or even as an imaginative dialogue with the Deity. Baradulin in his discourse about Chagall also underscores Chagall’s biblical upbringing: “The Bible, the aura of which educated Mark Chagall, dictated to him images and dressed up in words the artist’s ingenuity.”13 Baradulin concludes this paragraph with a startling metaphor: “This lodger of heavens brought together sound and color, which before him were separated … He joined them in an angelic way by forming them into two wings.”14
McMillin was first to underline a role of a metaphor in Baradulin’s writing by citing the poet’s statement: “Everything in the world is a metaphor. A world itself thinks, sees and feels in metaphors and comparisons which lie at the basis of metaphors.”15 Thus, for Chagall, as Baradulin feels, his country of birth became a metaphor for a paradise lost: Here is the first stanza of Chagall’s “Da vysokaj bramy” (Towards a tall tower): “/ Толькі тая краіна мая, / што жыць у душы маёй не перастае, / Як свой, без віз адпаведных, / я ўваходжу ў яе. / I have only one country/It lives in my soul forever, / I need no entrance visa / To enter it./ One more important connection between these two poets, patriots, and humanists should be underlined: their intense and unshakeable faith in God. So it is not incidental that Baradulin’s last translation from Chagall is “Pra hetuju jasnaść (About this clarity):
Pra hetuju jasnaść (About this clarity):

Бог мой, за гэтую яснасць, My God, for this clarity,

Якой Ты душу маю насяліў, That You willed to my soul,

Дзякуй. Thank You.

Бог мой, за гэты спакой, My God, for this peace,

Якім Ты душу маю насяліў, That You gave to my soul,

Дзякуй. Thank You.

Бог мой, ноч настае, My God, night is coming,

Да світання заводзіць павекі мае, My eyes close till sunrise,

І я намалюю нанова And then I will paint anew,

Карціну Табе Pictures for You

Пра зямлю і нябёсы. Of earth and sky.16

In the third chapter, Chagall is not just major recipient of Baradulin’s verses dedicated to him but a part of the book, where Baradulin himself wrote poems devoted to Almighty, Christ, Israel, and parts of Palestine which, like Bethlehem, is in possession of Christian faithful memory.
Since the two-third of the book’s poems are Baradulin’s translations, predominately from Yiddish, let’s take a look at a piece that must be familiar to most of us. Baradulin titled it, “From our people: ‘Tumbałałajka.’” This folk song of Biełarusian Jewish origin is somehow and often attributed to either “Polish” or “Russian” folk art. To claim something Biełarusian as their own is a familiar trend in Polish and Russian cultures, but the poet never stopped to resist this tendency, constantly returning to his home country its soulful heritage. Among many, I collected eight translations of “Tumbałałajka” from Yiddish: two English versions, three Russian, one Swedish, and one Portuguese. All of them are lucking the last stanza, present in Baradulin’s version. Overall, and personally I prefer Baradulin’s translation:
From our people: Tumbałałajka.
Shteyt a bocher, shteyt un tracht, Хлопец-зух стаіць наўзбоч,

Tracht un tracht a gantze nacht, Хлопец думае ўсю ноч:

Vemen tsu nemen un nit far shemen, Як такую жонку ўзяць,

Vemen tsu nemen un nit far shemen. Каб пасля не шкадаваць.

Tumbała, tumbała, tumbałałajka, Тумбала, тумбала, тумбалалайка,

Tumbała, tumbała, tumbałałajka, Тумбала, тумбала, тумбалалайка,

Tumbałałajka, spieł bałałajka, Тумбалалайка, грай балалайка,

Tumbałałajka – freylach zol zayn. Грай самаграйка, граіста грай.

Meydl, meydl, ch’vel bay dir fregen Што, дзяўчына, на мяжы

Vos kan vaksn, vaksn on regn? Без дажджу расце, скажы.

Vos kon brenen un nit oyfhern? Што палае і ў мароз,

Vos kon brenen veynen on treren? Рвецца, плачучы без слёз?

Narisher bocher, vos darfstu fregn Адкажу тваёй лухце –

A shteyn ken vaksn on regn, Камень без дажджу расце,

Libeh ken un nit oyfhern, І ў мароз гарыць мілосць,

A harts kon benken, veynen on treren. Бо мілосць мацней за злосць.

My heart is torn, but no shed tears, Сэрца рвецца і без слёз,

They are hidden from my fate and eyes. Плача, каб не бачыў лёс.

Do not just stand there: all thoughts aside. Ды і не думай і не стой.

You are most certainly laddie mine. Ты, здаецца, хлопец мой!

Tumbała, tumbała, tumbałałajka, Тумбала, тумбала, тумбалалайка,

Tumbała, tumbała, tumbałałajka, Тумбала, тумбала, тумбалалайка,

Tumbałałajka, spieł bałałajka, Тумбалалайка, грай балалайка,

Tumbałałajka – freylach zol zayn. Грай самаграйка, граіста грай.17

An onomatopoeia of Baradulin’s words is an impeccable fusion of sound and sense. Indeed, liquid “L” and “R” with voiceless “H” create a great phonetical alliance. A similarity of this simple song’s plot with Carlo Gozzi’s Princess Turandot is intriguing. Though the position of suitors’ gender is reversed, the principle and approach is the same. A prize for answering three riddles is to establish compatibility of suitors, and, hopefully, happy life together. The trick is that the responder (in Gozzi’s play it is Prince Calaf and in Yiddish song is unknown maiden) should answer the three riddles in exact words that were pre-established by their potential partners.
Baradulin’s feelings towards Biełarusian Jewish poets were mutual. In his last essay Baradulin recalled his and his mother’s Akulina close friend, the Yiddish poet Chajm Malcinski (1910–1986). Here are few of Baradulin statements of the poet’s integrity: “Chajm Malcinski was a Jewish poet till his last days; he wrote in Yiddish at a time when the majority of Jewish writers were forced in ‘volunteer’ fashion to forget their native language.”18 Baradulin states that Malcinski received many high military awards, among which were two Orders of the Great Patriotic War (First and Second Degree) and the Order of the Red Star. He lost his leg in the last days of the war during the Allies’ advance on Berlin. When he was arrested under the bizarre charge of “an attempt to sell the Russian Far East to the Americans,” this disabled war hero couldn’t climb up to his cell’s wooden bunk; he had to sleep beside his prison’s cell waste bucket. Baradulin also tells how Malcinski fought for the right to immigrate to Israel with his son, and how he won. In relation to him, among many episodes, the poet tells a new (after Holocaust) folk saying about Biełarusian past livelihood: “Oh, those were the times when we had plenty of fish in our rivers and as many Jews in shtetls.”19 Chajm Malcinski’s poem “Biełaruskamu paetu” (To a Biełarusian poet), in which he expresses his intimate feelings to a Christian friend and colleague is a typical representation of such reciprocity.
Biełaruskamu paetu (To a Biełarusian poet)
Здаецца, стала неспакою меней, It seems, we are in a bit less trouble now,

Я ведаў, что мяне ты зразумеешь. I knew you will understand what that means.

І я не памыліўся, любы брат. And I am not mistaken, beloved brother.

Ты ж сёння ў лесе чуў, як па-яўрэйску Today, in the forest you heard me while

Я з дрэвамі пагаварыць быў рад. I spoke Yiddish to the trees.

Крамянае, ляцела рэха гулка, A ringing echo flew around,

будзіла лес асенні, залаты. It woke up the autumn forest, entirely gold.

Цябе краналі And your soul was touched by the sound

Мовы маёй гукі, Of my language, and you understood

І зразумеў ўсё да кроплі ты. All, from the first to the very last word.20

Baradulin states early in his book that historically Biełarusians were never anti-Semitic. He offers an example from Biełarusian folklore that suggests that Biełarusian Christians placed great faith in Jewish believes: “When someone is very sick, offer charity for a Jewish school or to a Rabbi. If anyone can help, it is they, who can ask God directly and do that best; Jews may implore Him to give health back to a sick person.”21

Thanks to Akulina, his mother, a devout Christian, Baradulin had never been a militant atheist. The book, however, clearly establishes that besides being inspired by the Old Testament, which Biełarusian Jews brought to the Christian Biełarusians, the writer was as enthusiastic about Yiddish language as he was about his native Biełarusian. Baradulin had childhood memories of prewar shtetl life, and he learned more from his beloved mother’s many Biełarusian Jewish friendships. Baradulin’s volume is an extended metaphor for the poet’s feelings about Biełarusian Jews.

As a child, he had been baptized as a Biełarusian Roman Catholic, but in the 1980s Baradulin felt closer to the traditional Biełarusian Christian faith of the Uniates, and he converted. His funeral service in his native village of Vierasoŭka (he asked to be buried next to his mother) was performed in the both traditions. Moreover, his family (as impoverished as all Biełarusian intelligentsia), had no means to buy a headstone for Baradulin’s grave. Of course, the Biełarusians of all ethnicities and religious backgrounds acted as soon they found out about this disgrace. Donations for the headstone came from all over the world. A symbolism of this solidarity speaks for itself and confirms what Ryhor Baradulin has portrayed in his Book of Respect and Friendship: common living for over seven hundred years created tight connections between the Biełarusians of both ethnicities. Baradulin also gives a number of historic examples of how, in their common past, Biełarusian Christians and Jews were mistreated by foreign rulers and shows outsiders’ contempt for the Yiddish and Biełarusian cultures. Thus, he compares fates of Old Biełarusian Uniate and Yiddish books:

One painful vision of my early childhood that happened before the war is still with me. I remember how through the windows of closed Jewish schools, books were flying; they were like birds with broken wings. Letters like birds’ little feet on snow were crowding pages of these homeless books, overwhelmed with fervent despair and forced muteness. Later I realized that Jewish books were repeating the gloomy fate of our ancient Biełarusian Uniates books, which volumes were penetrated with old Kryvičs’ spirit. Indeed, the anti-Semitism and chauvinism of those in power, are twin-brothers.22

One more telling notion about spiritual brotherhood of these two Biełarusian faiths is portrayed in an excerpt from a cycle: “And a Heart will turn into Bethlehem.”

Чый Бог We know whose God

Адзін за ўсіх хварэе, Has suffered for everyone,

Смяецца з нашых звадаў лёс: Fate is laughing, there is no other way:

Бо ў старасці мы ўсе – When old, we will all –

Яўрэі, Turn into Jews,

Як малады Ісус Хрыстос. Like Jesus Christ. 23
Ryhor Baradulin bequeathed his countrymen an invaluable humanistic tradition. Baradulin had no prejudices of race, color or caste. Yet, in his view, Biełarusian Christians and Jews were the first targets for rulers of Russian and Soviet empires for much over the past two centuries. He was a genuine patriot who fought fiercely for his country’s liberty.
To conclude this short journey into Baradulin’s exploration of his Biełarusian compatriots, I would like to cite Michele Somerville’s notion about a poet’s role in a society: “Poets keep the world safe for imagination, and imagination preserves the liberty of even those who care as little for it as for poetry.”24 Baradulin certainly left us this liberty, one of many marks of which is his Book of Respect and friendship.

Zina Gimpelevich: Ryhor Baradulin (1935-2014). If only Jews were here! The book of respect and friendship

(Abstract, magazine “CULTURE, NATION”, June 2017, issue 18, pp. 65-76)

Vasil Bykov thought of his younger friend Gregory Baradulin the best Belarusian poet of all time. In fact, fellows enjoyed his comic poem no less than "serious, the biblical theme” as well as gratefulness for Baradulin for the development of modern literature critical thoughts, prose, journalism and translation. His legacy to our people: more than 70 books. G. Baradulin was twice nominated as a candidate for the Nobel literature prize. I'm sure only that there is no other than translations of his works into Western languages ​​prevented to get her it. At the same time, he was a talented translator proved not only world-class translations from more than a dozen languages, but his latest book: "To the Jews were only! Book of respect and friendship". In this book, which has no analogue in world literature, Baradulin tells about a centuries charity between Christians and Jewish Belarusians, wrote many poems dedicated to God, and 12 essays about Jewish representatives of Belarusian culture. But most importantly, he translated from Belarusian Yiddish (languages ​​Litvak) many beautiful poems, which we never would have known if not of work our poet patriot and man.

1 Baradulin’s most popular pen-names were Avoś Savoś, Alieś Kalina, and Alieś Čabor.

2 Baradulin. Tolki b habrei byli! Kniha pavahi I siabroŭstva. Minsk: Knihazbor, 2011.

3 Yeshiva (university).

4 Le Foll, Claire. “Bialik.” Mir zajnen do [My jašče tut; We are still here]. 34 (2008): 4.

5 Baradulin, Tolki b habrei byli! Kniha pavahi i siabroŭstva,15.

6 Natalla Arsieńnieva, “Akcyja” in: Miž berahami. NY, Toronto: BINiM, 1979, p. 224-5.; Maksim Tank (1912-1995) also wrote a truly powerful poem, “Mark Chagall” in 1977. Maksim Tank, Zbor tvoraŭ. Minsk: Biełaruskaja Navuka, v. 5., p. 142. His poem’s theme is threefold: there is grief about Holocaust victims, reverence to the past excellent relationship between Christian and Jewish Biełarusians, and unbreakable love for Chagall, the artist. In these terms should be noted a wistful poem “Chagall” by Biełarusian Canadian poet Juraś Šamiećka. Minsk: LIM, 11. 17 March (2017): 8. In his poem the author tells how Chagall returns to him his native Biełaruś, the one he never knew but is able to see it through the artist’s paintings.

7 Wullschlager, Chagall, 487–8;

8 Ibid.

9 Baradulin, 149. The brine is an allusion to his parents’ selling herring in brine in their Viciebsk corner store.

10 An allusion to a hiding place. The first four lines are also missing in Wullschlager’s book. Baradulin, 149.

11 Baradulin, 149-50.

12 Baradulin, 15.

13 Ibid., 16.

14 Baradulin, 16.

15 McMillin, Writing in a Cold Climate, 87. The entire chapter could serve as an ideal epitaph for the People’s poet.

16 Baradulin, 161.

17 Baradulin, Tolki b habrei byli! Kniha pavahi i siabroŭstva, 89.

18 Ibid,, 20.

19 Ibid., 15.

20 Ibid, 193.

21 Ibid, 9. Tolki b habrei byli! Kniha pavahi i siabroŭstva, 9.

22 Baradulin, 12.

23 Baradulin, If only Jews were here!, 201.

24 Michele Somerville, Allen Ginsberg: Buddhist Rabbi" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-somerville/post_863_b_719676.html

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