The Paratroopers Cry
Hayim Hefer


This wall has heard many prayers
This wall has seen the fall of many other walls
This wall has felt the touch of mourning women
This wall has felt petitions lodged between its stones.
This wall saw Rabbi Yehuda Halevi trampled before it
This wall has seen Caesars rise and fall
But this wall had never seen paratroopers cry.

This wall saw them tired and wrung out
This wall saw them wounded, mutilated
Running to it with excitement, cries and silence.
And creeping as torn creatures in the alleys of the Old City

And they are covered with dust and with parched lips
They whisper, "If I forget thee, if I forget thee Jerusalem
They are swift as eagles and strong as lions
And their tanks - the fiery chariot of Elijah the Prophet
They pass by with noise
They pass by a stream
They remember the 2,000 awful years
In which we had not even a wall to place our tears before

And here they stand before it and breathe in dust
Here they look at it with sweet pain
And tears run down and they look at one another perplexed
How does it happen that paratroopers cry?
How does it happen that they touch this wall
with great emotion?
How does it happen that their weeping changes to song?
Perhaps because these boys of 19,
born at the same time as the state,
carry on their shoulders - 2,000 years.