Page 72 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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64
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
o f adjusting not to the landscape alone bu t also to the
nature
o f the landscape, o f attaining what is term ed the “body ego ,”
the physical identification with an environment, its climate, the
very tex ture o f the air which is achieved only af te r many years,
if at all, in a new country. T h e ability to accord with the land ­
scape in this sense initially eluded the p ioneering poets; their
own body egos related to snow and mists, mountains, forests,
and cool lakes. The poignant tribute o f Shimoni’s poetic spokes­
man to his diaspora home, expressed entirely in terms o f nature ,
begins with his awareness o f the immense consequence o f lea rn ­
ing a landscape from birth. It concludes with yet ano the r shared
and later common Israeli sentiment: his envy o f those bo rn in
Palestine, “for na tu re will not hu rry to d rop the veil from its
face/ For every approach ing s tranger . . . ”
T he pioneers were not exiles in the tru e sense o f loss o f hom e­
land and language. They had known Hebrew from early child­
hood; G reenberg ’s aphoristic “Hebrew was not my mother-
tongue, but my blood-tongue . . . ”12 suits them all. By the ir de ­
liberate artistic remoteness from the language o f their European
birthplace they maintained a distance from the place itself. They
willingly left their homes for a much desired haven which ideo­
logically at least rep resen ted “home” more poignantly than did
their actual birthplaces. T h e pioneers did not there fo re entirely
suit Paul T abo r i’s definition o f an exile as “ . . . a person com­
pelled to leave o r remain outside his country o f origin on ac­
count o f well-founded fear o f persecution . . . a person who
considers his exile temporary (even though it may last a life­
time), hoping to re tu rn to his fa therland when circumstances
permit, bu t unable to do so as long as the factors tha t made
him an exile persist.”13 Pragmatically viewed, many o f these fac­
tors apply, but the ideological inversion o f the definition o f “fa­
the r land” (in Hebrew,
moledet,
“b irthp lace”) establishes a singu­
Let them wither!
I ’ll not call you again in sorrow.
I'll not plant them in your earth again!
Lamdan’s conclusion in this stanza is not without its ambivalence: the Pal­
estinian sun may be a curse, but his spokesmen will bear it with pride.
See
Massada,
p. 54.
12. Greenberg, U.Z., “Ke-Matkonet Moladeti,” in Megged, Matti, ed.,
Shirim
Liriyim,
Ramat-Gan: Massada, 1970, p. 87.
13. Tabori, Paul,
The Anatomy of Exile.
London: Harrap, 1972, p. 122.