Sunday, October 13, 2013

Museum of the Armory, Latrun, Israel

Memorial, Museum of the Armory, Latrun, Israel

Israel pilgrimage—2006

We visit the Museum of the Armory in Latrun
observe Merkava Tanks, the best in the world
solid and serious—
built to encase Israeli soldiers
in a womb of steel
built to show the enemy who’s boss

and we see names, row after row of names
etched on a long dark wall
exactly 4,498 of them—
names of soldiers, mostly young
killed in Israel’s wars

Our guide points to one, newly engraved
It is his friend, Oz
who died a few months ago
Oz, who fought at his side
in the war against Hezbollah and Lebanon
the war we watched on our American TVs, in June

I speak with three young soldiers holding M15s
Ask if I may photograph them
They politely decline—
It is the Sabbath

One of them
has carefully knotted tzitzit[1]
protruding from his olive drabs

Maude Carolan Pych

[1] Tzitzit are the specially knotted fringes, attached to the four corners of the tallit (prayer shawl), worn by observant Jews.

The above poem was awarded honorable mention in the 2013 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest, sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. It was published in the Paterson Literary Review, Issue #41. I was honored to read this poem, Saturday, at the Hamilton Club, Paterson, NJ.

*Scroll down to the end of this blog for information about ordering chapbooks, including one of poems about my three pilgrimages to Israel.

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