Page 160 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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152
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Grade’s ancestors remain loyal to the above quoted wisdom o f
the generations and undergo pogroms and destruction o f life.
His Ezekiel the prophet asks God a question, which at that time
and in the context o f the poet’s writing, sounds like a rhetorical
one:
O, Got, muz eybig zayn bafalene un vos bafalert?
Far vos hostu fun uns zich opgevendet?22
[O, God, must there ever be victims and attackers?
Why have you turned away from us?]
After a failed attempt to restore life and to bring the revived
to the land o f Israel, the prophetic vision o f the Valley o f the
Bones in Exekiel (ch. 37) ends in the poem in a new catastrophe.
“Darkness’ then exclaims victoriously:23
. . . Die/ Back to the graves, accursed carcasses./ In one grave
— a hundred, and one — in hundreds o f graves!/ So shall you
lie from now until eternity/ and if anyone awakens you — return
again to dust! (ibid., pp. 75-76)
Grade the poet does not put h im self in the same category as
the prophet. He identifies rather with Abel who succumbed
at the hands o f Cain. In his poem “Balade,” the poet-Abel sees
himself slain by Cain, the dweller o f Darkness, the same Dark­
ness whose words we quoted above. Grade writes in his
“Balade”:
Says Abel: Like a blind one I wear a smile,
And knock on the door o f Darkness: Cain!
I forgive you fo r my spilled blood,
Come, let us renew our brotherhood
Lighted castles shine in the night,
And Cain, drunk, hairy and ruddy,
Runs to meet me with a knife
.. .
A stab, and I fa l l down dead
(ibid., p. 27)
In this poem, as in many others, there is the absolute certainty
o f the ongo ing catastrophe in history, with the Jews as victim.
The poet and his people must ever suffer this state o f affairs.
In lines reminiscent o f Uri Zvi Greenberg’s “In Malkhus fun
T selem .” Grade continues:
22.
Yo,
p. 74; see also “Der Veg fun Payn,”
Dojrois,
p. 69.
23. Cf. the poem “Balade,”
Yo,
pp. 24-25;
Dojrois,
p. 27.