Page 68 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
ory Amichai again writes about Dickie" who appeared in pre­
vious poetry and also in a story, “Dickie’s Death” (1961) which
is devoted to his part in the war. The story is a detailed, graphic,
clearly autobiographical, almost documentary narrative told by
a soldier about his commanding officer, Dickie. In Amichai’s
verse the same Dickie becomes an emblem of the young
Palmahnik
of 1948, an enduring image for the youth and mas­
culinity of Amichai himself and his generation. In the persona
of Dickie, memorialization and memory are combined. He
serves both as the idealized image of the fallen and the personal
memory of youth. Like a ghost, he remains eternally young
and conserves the youth of his men, their sturdy legs, their
open hands (th
eyadpetuhah
of the collection’s title), their speech.
In these hills even the refineries
are already memory. Here Dickie fell.
He was older than I by four years
and like a father to me in times of trouble.
Now I’m older than he by forty years
and, a grieving old father, I remember him
as a young son.
And you who only remember faces,
Don’t forget the extended hands,
the legs running easily,
the words.
Remember that even the road to the terrible battles
always passes by gardens and windows,
children playing and a dog barking.
Remember, and remind the ripe fruit
of the leaf and the branch,
remind the hard thorns
that in spring they were soft and green,
and don’t forget that even the fist
was once an open hand and fingers.12
The poem offers no hint that Dickie is other than the conven­
tional physical stereotype of the
Palmah
hero, whereas the story’s
narrator explicitly portrays the contrast between the stereotype
11.
Huleikat
ha-shir ha-shelishi al Dickie,
in
Gam ha-egrof,
p. 12.
12. Ibid.