Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
2 4
Yet in the midst of the despair of disillusion, one senses the
eternal hope:
Enough! for there will appear no King, and no Messiah,
no message of good hope, no repentance, no God.
Our tent bent down and was silent,
our sounds in the leaf-fall grew rotten;
in wound and in dream betrothed,
compassion and kindness forgotten.
I t was not our fault. On the threshold of sunset we were
suddenly stricken with rain.
We stood at the edge of the field all atremble with
showers and chill.
Will we ever, ever strike roots?
The waters reached even to our necks:
till the end of days, for the dove’s green leaf of olive,
we shall be yearning still.
Both the “wound” and the “dream” remained.
Professor Halkin’s conclusions, though based on a limited
number of volumes, seem to have gone to the roots of the matter.
Perhaps on a more superficial level, the “Messianism” of the
left-wing continued to find expression in some of the poetry
included by A. Shlonsky in
(Clock), a literary review
he began to edit in 1950.
Two other publications help to round out the picture and
write “finis” to this part of our story. In
Fiery Pages,
edited in
in two volumes (1952, 1958) for the Israel Ministry of Defense
by R. Avinoam (Grossman), American-born Israeli poet, the
selections from the literary remains of young men who died in
the War of Independence included much poetry. One of them
wrote prophetically:
All the songs we shall no longer sing
and all the loves we shall not love forevermore. . .
The Book of the Palmach
(1953) —of which one of the editors
is a Kibbutz poet (Zerubabel Galed) whose first volume of verse
appeared in 1936—the poetry of the war generation includes
(besides the more serious works of Guri and others) a substan-
tial body of light verse, much of it lyrics written for soldiers’
shows and sung around many a campfire. Haim Hefer, the best
lyricist of that group, very appropriately gave the title
(1949) to a collection of his once-popular “war” songs
whose value now may be chiefly historical and sentimental.4
4 See also the section on “War Poetry” in G. PreiFs
Israeli Poetry
in Peace and War,
New York, Herzl Institute, 1959; and I. M. Lask,
“Three Decades of Hebrew Writing,”
Jerusalem, April-June, 1954,
pp. 49-64, who selected Y. Shalev, S. Tani and Y. Luria for special
mention, among the younger poets.