Page 142 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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Despite Vogel’s chillingly prescient choice of vocabulary and
imagery the disaster he senses is unspecific. This poem was
mocked and reviled by Hebrew writers who had neither the
time nor the will, in the 1920s, to reflect that even in the com­
paratively heady days of the new
Europe had not yet
entirely emerged from one darkness before entering another.
Moshe Hano’omi maintains that Vogel’s references to his fa­
ther in his first collection,
Lifnei ha-shaar ha-afel
indicate his guilt
about his desertion of tradition and Jewish values.15 There is
nothing else in Vogel’s poetry which might indicate this sense,
but there is no doubt that it did exist strongly in other Jewish
literature of the time and later, particularly in that of the writer
who is perceived as a kind of soulmate of Vogel’s, M.Z..
Feierberg. Feierberg in his day was the first to establish the
personification of cultural culpability when he said of his apos­
tate hero, “ . . . he was murdering everything inside himself,
his father, his father’s fathers, his entire people.”16
Even later, in the writing of the State of Israel the dead father
is a constant image for Jewish tradition, and the response of
the son to his memory is correctly taken to be his response to
inherited values. Vogel’s elegiac memories of a pious father and
his references to his father’s sadness (“But your sad eyes/I’ll
see all my life/Upon me”) bear a similar connotation of loss
which transcends the physical loss of a parent. In another poem
Vogel’s “I” juxtaposes the father to himself and emphasizes the
differences between them: “My father’s dream is awake/and ex­
ults with night/My eye brings down stars — all the hearts’ weep­
ing.”17 Yet “I saw my father” ends on a note of peaceful ac­
commodation with his own world:
15. Moshe Hano’omi. “Olam ha-massoret be-shirat David Vogel,”
17 February 1961.
16. Mordecai Zeev Feierberg.
Tel Aviv: Dvir, 7th edition, 1964, 135.
17. This recalls the mood o f Ben Zion Tomer’s
in which he compares
his father’s fidelity to tradition with his own rootlessness: “My father carved
his life in stone/I, in the wind . . . ” In
Shirah tze’irah.
Tel Aviv: Eked, 1980,
116. See also Amichai’s first quatrain in the series
Be-zavit yesharah
1948 -1962 .
Tel Aviv: Schocken, 1967, 120.