Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2005
Aviva Calamaro
Niles West High School, grade 12

Hear O Israel

Hear O Israel!

I have known the ferociousness of your sun and the cold fury of its slumber
I have stood at the feet of your imperious mountains and trembled.
O noble guardsman!
You watch me as suspiciously and justly as all others.
I wish that I could but stand guard with you at your peaks,
Keeping the valleys safe from the world.
I look down and I am unafraid,
You that test me with your long and serious faces.
Looking down I jump,
Leaning back as though floating on water.
I look through your eye at the trees beyond,
The beauty that you stubbornly shelter and keep watch over.

There are trees that wind their arms together with bonds of friendship,
And one whose red hair stands out among the rocks.
O dry river,
I travel along your skeleton as a chill travels down a spine,
Just as persistent and unstoppable.

They are crying in your cities.
May tears in number be greater than their cause.
O mighty stones of Israel,
Let us not crumble through we be hammered on all sides!

The bees gather at the water’s edge where the poisonous pink flowers grow,
And we pluck them just as innocently and ignorantly as Gilad leapt from the top.

Three mountains sleep near Harmon,
And the red T-Rex unwisely turns his back on Syria.

O sweet waves where the cities sparkle,
Your misty sunsets carry me away as if on your undercurrent.
And you,
The burning waves,
Who lie still and dead,
Hold me up high,
Though you lie far below.

Praised be those who give all for the land of Zion.
Masada,
You are the coffin tragically separated
From your fellow mountains as you sit in mourning.

Deserted Negev,
Though you are mostly sand and rock I am still drawn to you.
I could praise your mountains from day until night,
And when night approaches,
Bless your silence.

The howling moon observes me as I sleep at Solomon’s feet,
Near where the path through the sea is lost.
And though there’s not a tree in sight,
I hold three lands in view.

I stand at attention encircled by your arms
Where the dead regain their honor and I return mine.

O Israel!
Though I now leave you,
I will wait as anxiously as a bride awaits her wedding night,
Until I can once again rejoin with thee,
My home and country.