Page 73 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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ABRAM SON /TWO HOMELANDS
65
lar, and again inverted, notion o f exile when re fe rr ing to the
Jews. It seems also to suppo rt the vocational “elsewhereness”
o f the Jews who even in their homeland are unable to settle
for ‘being at hom e .’
With all this, body ego and ideology are often irreconcilable
and despite their love o f the Holy Land and its language the
pioneers repo rted instances o f “the treasured remembrance o f
elsewhere and otherwhile,” in Harry Levin’s words. T he ir
sehnsucht
is essentially, and perhaps deliberately, Romantic,
merging mind and na tu re to create metaphors o f landscape.
A sense o f displacement and exile did not d isappear even later,
in the 20s and 30s, when the Palestinian settlement was well
established and maskilic utopianism had taken its place as an
ideological chronicle. Modern Hebrew writers continued to
stress the need for reorientation in the face o f the persistent
memory o f diaspora life and the conflict engendered by it. Saul
Tschernichowsky sounded some notes o f uneasy accommoda­
tion as did Uri Zvi Greenberg.
Leah Goldberg, who was born in Russia in 1911 and reached
Palestine in 1935, remembered with surprising nostalgia the
vanished contours o f her European home. Goldberg’s poetics
is largely shaped by juxtapositions, one being that o f contrasting
locations. H e r notion o f “h e re” and “th e re” is matched by cor­
responding distinctions o f landscape o r experience. Goldberg’s
cycle
Ha-Masa ha-Katzar be-Yoter
(The shortest jou rney , 1973)
is devoted to these contrasts and to remembering a vanished
home. “T h e shortest jou rn ey ” is into the pas t,14 realized in the
poem entitled
Tel Aviv 1935,
the first poem o f this cycle.
The kit-bags of the travellers walked in the streets
And the language of a strange land
Was plunged into the hamsin day
Like the blade of a cold knife. . . .
Like pictures darkening in a camera,
Pure winter nights, rainy summer nights across the sea,
And dull mornings of great cities
All reversed . . .
The sound o f footsteps behind your back
Drummed marches o f a foreign army,
And it seemed
-—
you but turn your head
14. Goldberg, Leah,
Shirim,
vol. 3, Merhavia and Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1973,
p. 19.