Sha’ar Ephraim/Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate)

Sha’ar Ephraim/Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate)

for Hadas Malka and Hadar Cohen, z’l


I sensed a Devorah—perhaps a Yael?—safeguarding

the crenellated, north-facing gate of a city old

and past tired of the slain and bloodstained in its midst.

Maybe it was Judith, after all, incarnated

and uniformed with camouflage face paint,

armed and present in the epicenter of mayhem,

a multi-tiered stage for the villainy of terrorism

to play out against the backdrop of Jerusalem stone.


You were not stationed atop the parapets looking down

on the horde, but stood out in the open

on the front lines of fate, undeterred

by the duteous Angel of Death

who routinely threatened to visit unannounced.


Neither did you slumber, nor did you sleep,

when duty’s call came, when the hour was nigh.


Heroine, thank you for what you did for me,

did for all of us, for your service courageous,

your commitment to our nation, to its security,

displayed every time you donned the grey drabs

and patrolled alleyways and lanes, corridors and steps,

stalked by peril around each corner.


May archangels salute you and bow their heads;

may God discard His schedule

to embrace you at the utmost gate.


About the Author
Brandon Marlon is a Canadian-Israeli author whose writing has appeared in 275+ publications in 30 countries. His script The Bleeding Season won the 2007 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and he is the author of two poetry volumes, Inspirations of Israel: Poetry for a Land and People, and Judean Dreams.
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