Page 157 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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Alter finds the essential nature of the poetry, the strength of its
feeling and the power of its expression in the poet’s observation of
the nostalgia that longs for a time of wholeness which once
reigned. This the critic links with the poet’s expression of the
separation from his mother particularly. His/ocws
is a fine
series of poems, “Shirim be-Shule Shamayim” (Poems at the Rim
of Heaven) in
Rehovot Ha-Nahar
(pp. 214-18). In the second
section — “Kedoshe Dumiyah” (Silence’s Martyrs), the poet dis­
tinguishes between his father and mother, although both are
described as “holy”:
Much bloodless longing was in myfather,
But the wandering vehicle did not stop at the time of longing
Next to his house
. . .
Therefore did he know silence and melody,
And loved with-his-eyes wings of birds.
— ‘When they want tofly, theyfly away
. . .
But my mother . . . there was a wandering vehicle’s harness to her
By the heart-beat her whole existence knew how to walk
With her very legs on the sea;
According to the moon’s path-on-the-waves
To me, to the son, in Zion
But she did not find me sitting on the beach waitingfo r her
And she returned with the moon s-path-on-the-waves:
Weary of wandering, hot of head, struck by the sea.
In the “Song of the Organist,” it was the sea that addressed the
poetic narrator, asking him to look up to the effulgences and see
the “longing” (
The mother, here located at the sea, has
walked on it, searching him out; but she has not been able to find
the son; he has moved on. With his father he still has a connection,
because the father is identified with God. He prays to Him,
though he does not know Him: — “I do not recognize His face,
but He is father” (fourth section, p. 218). He seems to need the
link with both parents. But it is his mother’s inability to find him
that gives him his terrible feeling of isolation: “Now my mother
too is like my father; silence’s martyrs. The result is inevitable: