Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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ABRAMSON / RETURN TO 1948
61
— tall and blond with a blond mustache — and Dickie, who
was stocky and compact. In the poem Dickie is uniquely an em­
bodiment o f youth, the source of the speaker’s nostalgia and
ultimately a memorial to the fallen for the entire society.
The word “memory” (
z-kh-r
) in many grammatical permuta­
tions occurs fourteen times in three pages of verse
(Gam ha-egrof,
11-14). Sights and smells recall the battle and topographical lo­
cations, yet these remain vague and unspecific, various valleys,
beaches and orchards, smells of eucalyptus and yellow sand.
The battles are contracted to “a battle,” “a machine gun,” “a
retreat”; Dickie is an icon, a composite image for memorializa-
tion. Generally the poetic remembering and forgetting are as
indeterminate as the few delineated memories. The speaker is
therefore evoking a state of remembrance, remembering with­
out an exact object.
We lived in this wadi during the war.
Many years have passed since then,
many victories and many defeats.
I’ve gathered consolations in my life
and wasted them, much sorrow
has been spilt in vain, I’ve said many things
like the waves in Ashkelon in the west
that always say the same thing.
But as long as I live my soul remembers. (11)
Also:
I put on a hat for remembrance
and everything was closed in my head.
I took o ff the hat for remembrance
and my thoughts flew away to the winds
like unrooted seeds. (13)
The contents of all the remembrance remain enclosed, unex­
pressed but it is important that the poet be engaged in the
act
of remembering, for in addition to commemoration remember­
ing for him is a creative enterprise. In his earlier books an event
reported to have “happened” in the past was a poetic principle
by which the remembering of the event was akin to creating
it. “Remembering” had to do with the creative process itself,
a form of wish-fulfillment rather than recollection of an expe­
rienced event, particularly in the context of love. Memories of