The Silver Platter
And the land was then still, under bleary-eyed heavens
That crimsoned and dimmed over borders aglow,
And a nation stood fixed, broken-hearted but breathing,
To receive her reward, heaven-sent, down below.
Ceremony at hand, she made ready by moonlight,
All bedecked in her costume of festival and fear,
Then before her emerged a young lad, a young maiden
Who proceeded to march toward the nation’s premiere.
Dressed in uniformed drab, heavy boots, legs all weary
As they silently made their way up the incline,
Without change of their clothes, without washing the stain of
All the remnants of day and night on the front line.
Enervated and spent, having sworn off all respite,
Dripping with all the sap of a Hebrew youth’s heart
They approached soundlessly, and stood rapt at attention,
Not a sign if alive, or if shot half-apart.
Then the nation inquired, drenched in tears and enchantment,
Of the two, “Who are you?” as they stood, not unnerved.
Their reply: “We are they, the acclaimed silver platter
Upon whom the new State of the Jews has been served.”
They dropped dead at her feet, and the rest, yet to tell,
Will be penned in the Chronicles of Israel.
by Nathan Alterman