The Silver Platter

by Nathan Alterman
Translated from the Hebrew by David P. Stern


    ...And the land will grow still
    Crimson skies dimming, misting
    Slowly paling again
    Over smoking frontiers

    As the nation stands up
    Torn at heart but existing
    To receive its first wonder
    In two thousand years

    As the moment draws near
    It will rise, darkness facing
    Stand straight in the moonlight
    In terror and joy

    ...When across from it step out
    Towards it slowly pacing
    In plain sight of all
    A young girl and a boy

    Dressed in battle gear, dirty
    Shoes heavy with grime
    On the path they will climb up
    While their lips remain sealed

    To change garb, to wipe brow
    They have not yet found time
    Still bone weary from days
    And from nights in the field

    Full of endless fatigue
    And all drained of emotion
    Yet the dew of their youth
    Is still seen on their head

    Thus like statues they stand
    Stiff and still with no motion
    And no sign that will show
    If they live or are dead

    Then a nation in tears
    And amazed at this matter
    Will ask: who are you?
    And the two will then say

    With soft voice: We--
    Are the silver platter
    On which the Jews' state
    Was presented today

    Then they fall back in darkness
    As the dazed nation looks
    And the rest can be found
    In the history books.


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Author and Curator:   Dr. David P. Stern
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Last updated 18 January 2002