Rate this poem:0.0 / 0 votes

Exodus in December, 1943

The rim of Sinai gleams pale in the morning light
Not yet illuminated by the all-consuming flame
Shoulders hunched among the towering crags
A plain beggar in a land of darkness
At dawn's approach, shadows peel from the rock face
Spread across the burning stones,
Far behind us are the bitter springs,
The dunes marked by footprints and the wheels of ox carts,
The grinning sphinx, and the gleam of scimitars
Upraised with murderous intent
Like the battle cry of armies engulfed by the raging sea
We have been promised freedom
Yet the long night of Egypt seems as vast as the desert itself
With the wailing of the great shofar and the divine buckshot of thunder
I see the Hebrew characters unbound from their fetters, dancing on air,
While my hands strain for them, my fingers curl around the meshed gate
A prisoner in a cold season, that long journey
Seems like the memory of a forgotten lifetime
From a watchtower, the strains of a concerto drift like snow to the ground
The atmosphere tuned to the frequency of war
I see the old men, pious and ragged, clutching their rations in trembling hands,
Even now, they are shielding their eyes from the flame
Is it the heavenly fire, or the one that destroys
In two days, a week, or a month's time, I will stand before the enemy's rifles,
While the officer in jackboots takes the snapshot,
His mouth paralyzed in the rictus grin of death
If this is the eternal sentence, let me share my people's fate
I will not hesitate, nor turn from them, unflinching against the muzzle of darkness
Engulfed in the cosmic light,
As the call of Sinai echoes down the long tunnel of history
Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on October 15, 2013

1:28 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 1,589
Words 291
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 30

Discuss this Menachem Rephun poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Exodus in December, 1943" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/70705/exodus-in-december%2C-1943>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    March 2023

    Poetry Contest

    Enter our monthly contest for the chance to win cash prizes and gain recognition for your talent.

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    In the Edward Lear poem, which instrument does the Owl play while serenading the Pussy Cat?
    • A. A mandolin
    • B. A banjo
    • C. A violin
    • D. A guitar