They came to tell me that you fell
in the battle for the Chinese Farm,
their faces streaked with sweat, and tears
that were for me.

Then they put you in the ground
beneath the mountain where you were  born,
beside the friends with whom you played
and fought and died.

Your little boy did not understand,
he smiled and skipped and stopped
to pick wild cyclamen, which I placed
on your grave.

I saw their tears blending with the rain,
their cold hands clasped mine warmly
but a shield of shock protected me
from the pain.

Now I wander the long white halls
and in the shuffling of slippers
I listen for the thud of your boots
coming towards me.

The doctor behind his desk
says without saying
what I will not understand.

"Others have learned to live
with the death of a loved one".
"Then they knew not love!"

"You are young and beautiful,
there will be another man."
"For me there is no other!"

"What about your little son?
You have a duty to him."
"To raise him to die in battle?"

לָמוּת בַּקְּרָב

בָּאוּ לִמְסֹר לִי כִּי נָפַלְתָּ
בַּקְּרָב עַל הַחַוָּה הַסִּינִית,
בִּפְנֵיהֶם פַּסֵּי זֵעָה, וּדְמָעוֹת
שֶׁהָיוּ בִּשְׁבִילִי.

טָמְנוּ אוֹתְךָ בָּאֲדָמָה
מִתַּחַת לָהָר שֶׁעָלָיו נוֹלַדְתָּ,
לְיַד הַחֲבֵרִים שֶׁעִמָּם שִׂחַקְתָּ
וְשֶׁאִתָּם לָחַמְתָּ וְנָפַלְתָּ.

בִּנְךָ הַפָּעוֹט לֹא הֵבִין.
הוּא חִיֵּךְ, דִּלֵּג וְעָצַר
לִקְטֹף רַקְּפוֹת בַּר
שֶׁהִנַּחְתִּי עַל קִבְרְךָ.

רָאִיתִי אֶת דִּמְעוֹתֵיהֶם
מִתְעַרְבְּבוֹת בַּגֶּשֶׁם,
יְדֵיהֶם הַקָּרוֹת אָחֲזוּ בְּיָדַיי בְּחֹם
אַךְ הַהֶלֶם הֵגֵן עָלַי מִן הַכְּאֵב.

אֲנִי מְשׁוֹטֶטֶת בַּמִּסְדְּרוֹנוֹת
וְעִם גְּרִירַת נַעֲלֵי הַבַּיִת
מְצַפָּה לַחֲבָטוֹת  נַעֲלֶיךָ הַכְּבֵדוֹת
בָּאוֹת לִקְרָאתִי.

הָרוֹפֵא מֵאֲחוֹרֵי שֻׁלְחָנוֹ
אוֹמֵר לְלֹא אוֹמֵר
דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינֶנִּי רוֹצָה לְהָבִין:

"אֲחֵרִים לָמְדוּ לִחְיוֹת
בַּצֵּל מוֹת אָדָם אָהוּב.
"הֵם לֹא יוֹדְעִים אָהֲבָה מַהִי."

"אַתְּ צְעִירָה וְיָפָה
יִהְיֶה גֶּבֶר אַחֵר."
"עֲבוּרִי אֵין אַחֵר."

"וּמָה עִם בְּנֵךְ הַקָּט?
חוֹבָה לָךְ כְּלַפָּיו."
"לְגַדְּלוֹ לָמוּת בַּקְּרָב"?                                              

Hebrew translation by Aviva Ophir.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Ritualwell content is available for free thanks to the generous support of readers like you! Please help us continue to offer meaningful content with a donation today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Rituals

Shop Ritualwell - Discover unique Judaica products

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

Jewish Spiritual Autobiography

 Writing a spiritual autobiography helps you to discover how teachers, touchstones, symbols and stories have led you to make meaning and understand the sacred in your personal story. In this immersion, join Ritualwell’s Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, a writer and spiritual director, to map out and narrate your most sacred life experiences. Four sessions starting May 16, 2024. 

Get the latest from Ritualwell

Subscribe for the latest rituals, online learning opportunities, and unique Judaica finds from our store.

The Reconstructionist Network