Literature and Poetry/
Yom Hazikaron

Natan Altermann

The Silver Platter

The earth grows still.
The lurid sky slowly pales over smoking borders.
Heartsick but still living, a people stand by
To great the uniqueness
Of the miracle. Readied, they wait beneath the moon,
Wrapped in awesome joy before the light. — Then soon,
A girl and boy step forward,
And slowly walk before the waiting nation;
In work clothes and heavy-shod
They climb
In stillness.
Wearing still the dress of battle, the grime
Of aching day and fired night
Unwashed, weary until death, not knowing rest,
But wearing youth like dewdrops in their hair.
— Silently the two approach
And stand.
Are they of the quick or of the dead?
Through wondering tears, the people stare.
"Who are you, the silent two?"
And they reply: "We are the silver platter
Upon which the Jewish State was served to you."
And speaking, fall in shadow at the nation's feet.
Let the rest in Israel's chronicles be told.

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