Ofri Keidar writes, I am a former soldier, living the post-war, pre-war reality of balancing service and silence. I was born in Israel and uprooted to America. I make a living, living on the border.
They walk the edge of the wild
Where the earth meets the sea
And the waves form the sky
And the clouds ever dance.
The air is cold and harsh,
Their eyes are deep and old,
And the children carry torches
As they march
To light one funeral pyre
After the other.
They say there were beasts once
They say there were trees
They say there was light – fire in the sky –
They walk the eye of the storm,
And their faces are weathered and free.
They do not cry.
Pain is man-made medicine
And fear is man-made tool
And loneliness is man-made excuse.
Those cannot survive in the wild
Where the only beast left is you –
Where there are no gods, no family, no honor –
They walk together, lighting dying candles in the storm,
And their eyes are blazing bright.
They have dark eyes, black eyes.
They do not lie, or pretend, or withhold.
They wear their souls when their blankets unravel,
And they do not wait for tomorrow.
The edge –
Where the earth is thin and wherever you look
You can see only water –
The edge of a knife.
The stars are not dawning.
Before my eyes a dozen spears craft fear
As shining smoke carries the stench of bloody fields
Where birds of prey cry songs of victory.
Follow a path traveling far,
Leading to a house kissed with trees and sunset-tinted smiles;
Your mind walks the empty steps, then stops
Before a door locked and a key lost.
The rise of the water streams within,
The hands shake with the weight of empty years –
A rifle is but a sickle, left to rust against aged stones.
Your weary heart cannot endure the silence.
The trees in the yard flower softly,
Their eager scent longs for days long forsaken
And dreams of nights with starry might,
Curly hair, blurry eyes,
Shining rivers reflected in the vast, moonlit sky.
For who but the trees will remember a bird’s song
That wed a butterfly to his throne
And a bee’s smile as sweet as youth?
Empty steps and early sunsets blossom vainly
And wither hastily
Like blood gushing from a wound
Left, abused, to rust.
The trees offer the world their flowers,
Until they fall.