Today I start with a cliché. Big people make huge mistakes and there’s no-one writ larger in British journalism than the gutsy, feisty, candid Julie Burchill who loves with a great love and loathes with a huge hatred.
I am not a mother but understand both from my extended family and those around me here in Israel that there is no emotional anguish more brutal than that of burying a child. Some Israeli parents have seen several children killed in action or as a result of terrorism.
So I hope that as an unswervingly loyal friend of the Jewish community and Israel, Burchill will ponder these things and allow that her pain is being shared with her ex-husband; that indeed her suffering is universal. Meanwhile, as she tries to come to terms with what has happened, Burchill has posted several poems dealing with the loss of children, including the one which follows.
Son was written by the Russian Jewish poet Pavel Antokolsky, a year after the death of his 18 year old son Lieutenant Vladimir Antokolovsky, who was killed in action during World War II on 06 June 1942. Antokolsky, a poet, translator and theatre director was a nephew of the sculptor, Mark Antokolsky.
“Do not call me, father, do not seek me,
Do not call me, do not wish me back.
“We’re on a route uncharted, fire and blood erase our tracks.
On we fly, on wings of thunder, never more to sheath our swords.
All of us in battle fallen, not to be brought back by words.
“Will there be a rendezvous? I know not.
I only know we still must fight.
We are sand grains in infinity, never to meet, never more see light.
“Farewell then my son. Farewell then my conscience.
My youth and my solace my one and my only.
“And let this farewell be the end of a story,
Of solitude vast and which none is more lonely.
In which you remain, barred forever and ever,
From light and from air,with your death pangs untold.
Untold and unsoothed, not to be resurrected.
Forever and ever, an 18 year old.
“Farewell then, no trains ever come from those regions
Unscheduled or scheduled,no aeroplanes fly there.
Farewell then my son, for no miracles happen,
As in this world dreams do not come true”.
“I will dream of you still as a baby,
Treading the earth with little strong toes,
The earth where already so many lie buried.
This song to my son,is come to its close”.
© Natalie Wood (03 July 2015)