My Restlessness Is Like a Wolf’s by Moyshe-Leyb Halpern
I am like a wolf for I cannot seem to settle down. I am also like a bear for I can sleep for hours. I prefer to be wild than be filled with unoccupied time. I am not quite sure what it is that I want in life, but I should not be judged based on my train of thought. I am a doer as well as an observer. There are things about myself that I don’t quite understand, but I am also steadfast in my beliefs. I can be happy as sunshine and cold as a winter’s day. I am the joyous, affluent man who can afford to spend his money recklessly. I am a mischievous person who is off-centered and who moves in unexpected directions. I live a very relaxed life and have little to do except watch as time passes by. I have many talents and facets that come together to create the musical beat that I live by.
This poem really spoke to me because the poet seems to attain many distinct qualities that upon first read seemed paradoxical. Each line juxtaposes two very different aspects of life, all the while coming together to form one person’s identity. The time period in which this poem was written represents a time of turmoil and uncertainty. I think this is clearly demonstrated in the poem as it contains this “either, or” quality. After careful examination I came to the conclusion that one can technically occupy all of these features, however it would make for a very complicated and confused individual. The poem is comprised of many metaphors and similes in order to give the poem meaning. It is Halpern’s way of presenting his own experiences through concepts and ideas that the reader would find relatable. This poem also obtains a city-like quality in it’s ability to cover a lot of different stuff in a very small amount of space. The individual is forced to find himself in a place where much is happening and little guidance is provided. It is almost expected for the author to feel overwhelmed or at a loss with his own identity. I think the line “I am not sure what I want, I am not what I think, I am the magician and I’m the magic trick” sums up the message of the poem pretty well. Here Halpern expresses the idea of not knowing what he wants and although sometimes feels as if he is in control, he really has no idea what’s going to happen next.
Translating the text from poem to prose was a remarkable experience. I had to push myself to really understand the message that the poet was trying to convey. It is important to pay careful attention to each an every word because often, poem can be misinterpreted and difficult to put into spoken language.
Halpern, Moshe Leib. “My Restlessness Is Like a Wolf’s.” In New York: A Selection. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1982. 88. Print.