Paul Mirbach

Come Home Safe

My son serves in an elite unit. He is in the last month of his three year service — that sensitive and dangerous period where your concentration strays, as you anticipate finishing the army. This poem expresses my anxiety for his safety.

* * *

I watch your back, your purposeful stride

Your broad strong shoulders, I’m filled with pride.

I wait in silence, till you’re out of sight,

I miss you so much, it’s a stinging bite,

And as I can’t wait to see you again,

I’ll count the days, between now and then.

Keep your mind is fixed on the weeks you face

Go in peace my son, and come home safe.


I’ve been in the army, I’ve trained and I’ve fought,

And while you endure it you’ve no time for thought.

So I know how hard you work and train,

As a parent, it’s harder, it’s hard to explain.

Be on your guard, and if you must, fight,

But with you away, I sleep lighter at night.

I sometimes imagine you on patrol or on base,

That’s not important, just come home safe.


And while I hug you too long, which I always do,

And you think, “Enough of that, I really must go”.

But, you see, I have no other way,

To express my love, and fears I daren’t say.

These goodbyes thus, will always be,

Hurried, and brief, unsatisfactory.

I can only imagine the dangers you face,

Do what you must, but come home safe.

About the Author
Paul Mirbach (PEM), made Aliya from South Africa to kibbutz Tuval in 1982 with a garin of Habonim members. Together they built a new kibbutz, transforming rocks and mud into a green oasis in the Gallilee. Paul still lives on Tuval. He calls it his little corner of Paradise.
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