Monday, November 7, 2016

The Song of Matathias

"After The Battle" © 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here


The song of Esther rises from the tomb of Haman
   that of Miriam from the pit of Birkenau
The sword of Gideon is embalmed in Gilead
   that of Baruch has been raised in Kovno
Whosoever is zealous for the Torah
   Let him follow me out of Szczecin

In blood and fire Judea shall rise again
   Shiloh will consecrate a new covenant
Pison will nail it to the tree
   Gihon will wrap it in fig-leaves
Out of the mouths of princes
     of Akiva and Bar Kochba
     of Ezra
     of Isaiah -
               not these words
but out of my princely mouth

For I Have Spoken
                    saith the Lord
My Will Be Done


Now Dachau is become a hill of leaves
   at Maedanek the poppies are in bloom
      a palm tree grows in Bergen-Belsen
Be Great And Be Holy Lord Our God
Now the vanquished have obtained vengeance
   silent are the fathers of the House of Law
      The faithful have deserted
Theos Epiphanes Selah

Now the rose of Sharon has been swamped by thorns
   the cedars of Jerusalem stand stoop-backed
      The dead tree gives no shelter
The lilacs are ruined by the dead land

See the works of God the Father
   See the works of Man the Son
      The hangman has unwrapped the covenant
The flaming sword has cut it from the tree

Yea, all, all shall be swept aside
These walls shall not contain all your possessions
   the calf shall not give milk
      the prison doors shall not be broken open
the exile shall not return

For I Have Spoken
                    Saith The Lord
My Will Will Be Done
All, all shall be swept aside
   the rubble of the ghetto walls
     shall no longer be the garden of your exile

The sun will scorch your faces
   branches will interlock like arms to arrest you
      your houses
all shall be swept aside


But I
      am a child among children
an eagle perching in the topmost branches
   last of the faithful
      zealous for the Torah

Pison is flooding
      Gihon bursts its banks
Who will follow me out of Modin?

Mine are the cedars of the One Temple
   Mine is the torn veil and the blunt knife
   Mine are the lost hopes and the re-dedication

Out of the mouths of the zealous
          and my zealous mouth

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Copyright © 2016 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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