Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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ABRAMSON / TWO HOMELANDS
67
dissimilar past is luminously recalled in this sonnet, as in
Shimoni’s idyll and Lamdan’s
Massada,
in visions o f snow and
ice, demarcating the climatic contrast and emphasizing the pow­
erfu l sense o f loss. T h e wintry European landscape is the g reat­
est antithesis to the heat and aridity o f the Middle East.
Goldberg candidly raises in almost pragmatic terms the problem
o f biradicalism. Given the ideological loading o f the word
moledet,
h e r use o f this word to denote the past homeland and
give it equal weight with the presen t one is particularly signif­
icant and suggests that the phenom enon o f nostalgia is not to
be lightly dismissed.
Those o f the presen t generation o f writers, the poetic g rand ­
children o f the maskilim, who were born in Europe in the 20s
and 30s, have not shed the sense o f dualism in their lives o r
the affection for two landscapes. More than any o the r contem­
porary writer Yehuda Amichai (born in Wurzburg in 1924, em ­
igrated in 1936) has clearly expressed and thoroughly crystal­
lized the two strands in Hebrew verse, the fierce love o f the
Israeli landscape on the one hand , and the sense o f displace­
m ent sharpened by memories o f the lost diaspora home, on
the other. One o f his poems, so fa r not anthologized, serves
as a summary for all this poetry o f inverted nostalgia from the
yishuv to the presen t day, in its memories o f the poet’s early
home and his reg re t at leaving it: after a series o f opposing
descriptions o f climate and view which mark the divergences
o f the “th e re” in Europe and the “he re” in Israel, he concludes:
. . . I write from right to left.
My forehead is burnt. Like chaff in a field my eyes are bleached,
But I love like all this the life
Among forests and along brimming rivers.
And in hard, square words o f my language
I must say my pain,
And describe the love that despite it all
I inherited from my forefathers who came from fa r away
Long ago.
The final two lines are somewhat enigmatic: the reade r is unsure
o f the origin o f the poet’s forefathers, whether “far away” is
ancient Israel o r modern Europe. Yet the geographical contrast
between “th e re” and “h e re” is clear. Common to all fou r modern
poems, from Lamdan’s
Massada
to Amichai’s verse, is the dis­