Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Father's Work

My father Zeev Kachel, an author, poet and artist, knew many languages, and he knew them because of the trials and tribulations of his history. Born in Russia, he knew Russian, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew from early childhood. French, German and Spanish came later: He left home at seventeen, moved to France for his studies, and upon the German invasion he was imprisoned. He escaped the camp, and climbed a foot trail over the Pyrenees mountains, which forms a massive divider between France and Spain. He lived two years in Barcelona, until he emigrated to Israel, where he fell captive when the Jordanian forces attacked the electricity plant which he operated.  

My father published three books during his lifetime: a prose book Dams Erupting published in 1957, offering a personal account of events during his captivity in Jordan during Israel’s war of independence in 1948; a poetry book Can We Still Love published in 1961, questioning our capability to give and receive love, having witnessed the inhumanity of two world wars; and a poetry book Beyond The Window, What Day Is It Today, published in 1977, bringing to light an unusual creative collaboration with me. 

How did this happen? When I was in my teens, my father said to me: Uvi, give me your poems, lets publish them. I resisted, because to me they were intensely private. He said, these poems, locked in your desk, are not yours anymore. The minute your ink left the pen, the words exist on their own. They belong to your readers! 

At last he prevailed, and a poetry book with his work and mine was published. And now after all these years, the upcoming book titled Home celebrates once again the spirit—and the action—of joining forces.


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