Literature and Poetry/
Rabin Memorial Day

Nathan Alterman

The End of the Father

 This is your father. This is your father on the bed of iron

And you approached his corner that darkened

And for the last time he saw you for his strength is like iron

And his wisdom has never declined.

 

And he had asked from the depth of his malady

From the dark cloud he asked for you, stricken totally

And you had come and said my father, my father

And he smiled with the strength he managed to gather

 

Be aware that your father can no longer speak

And the chocking increased as he labored

His lit eyes alone - sought your face as they browsed

was his touch – that he made sure you had realized

 

Since the evil of all evils was close

Since it reached till his neck and made him weary

Towards you the lips of father did move despite his throes

While his voice they could not carry

 

His strength that braved the toil of breath

And his face sunk in affliction

Was still composed and clear despite the fear of death

Nothing compares his determination

 

Despite his bitter illness

His thoughts are not disturbed

Since fathers have this prowess

To plan the morrow now

 

This habit of the fathers

To have their word be said

It's deep within their soul

The everyday details in their head

 

Nearly a hundred are fallen

But the last one fights to exist

Since death is hard for fathers

As an oak they do resist

 

Look at him. This is his hour.

Say how bad and tight it's reached

Even now things are abstract

But to death – no figure of speech

 

Watch as his living eyes are covered

By the frightening master that hovers

The illness takes apart vertebrae

Detaching cells on the way

 

Laying on his back he did not cry

Nor did he tremble nor move a brow

So, in stubborn silence - they lay

So do warriors – that fade away

 

But even lying with no voice or help

As you near hem step by step

He still thinks he's the one to provide

And you need him there at your side

 

Tis the habit of the ancient and the honest

This is an oath between you two

Remember it, much will be forgotten

But instill it in your son - too.

 

The memory of father shall descend as a cloud

To remind you that on the day that he was judged

His heart that loved and flesh that hurt

Are last in the world – to betray the beloved.

 

Make your departure though he sees you

The living pupils of his eyes sparkled till the end

Since father is forever and his life has no end

Since his spirit lives as his body descends

 

Faces got grey and eyes who saw were darkened

Tears are now better than brothers or friends

The lips of father do not move

But his voice shall yet be heard

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