You are young, and I am older;
You are hopeful, I am not –
Enjoy life, ere it grow colder –
Pluck the roses ere they rot.
Teach your beau to heed the lay –
That sunshine soon is lost in shade –
That now’s as good as any day –
To take thee, Rosa, ere she fade.
There is a street where they sell only red meat
And there is a street where they sell only clothes and perfumes. And there
is a day when I see only cripples and the blind
And those covered with leprosy, and spastics and those with twisted lips.
Here they build a house and there they destroy
Here they dig into the earth
And there they dig into the sky,
Here they sit and there they walk
Here they hate and there they love.
But he who loves Jerusalem
By the tourist book or the prayer book
is like one who loves a women
By a manual of sex positions.
Translated by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav
The little park planted in memory of a boy
who fell in the war begins
to resemble him
as he was twenty eight years ago.
Year by year they look more alike.
His old parents come almost daily
to sit on a bench
and look at him.
And every night the memory in the garden
hums like a little motor.
During the day you can’t hear it.
Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,
They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall
And they laugh behind heavy curtains
In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken
Together with our famous dead
At Rachel’s Tomb and Herzl’s Tomb
And on Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys
And lust after our tough girls
And hang up their underwear
To dry quickly
In cool, blue bathrooms.