My first day of leave, I walk Tel Aviv’s streets,
looking, not knowing her name, but her face
more unforgettable than a movie star’s. Not
that I’ve a chance of finding her, but a bloke’s
got to try, or as the poet says, “What’s a heaven for?”
And if I do catch sight of her, and run up and smile,
and tell her she’s all I’ve thought of since I escorted her
out of the Mograbi Theatre, while riots raged—
Hebrew speakers barmy to crush Yiddish ones,
not that anyone else can tell the difference—
who’s to say she won’t look at me with eyes
blanker than a shell-shocked Tommy’s?
Or sneer like I’m dirt stuck to her soles:
British and Protestant, not her Chosen People?
Still, I’ve got to find her, or burst like a frog
pumped full of air: my heart on fire every time
I think of her, her face museum-beautiful,
only alive and soft, and smiling and saying,
“Thank you,” when I escorted her from the riot,
her hand soft in mine, to bid me good night.
But it ain’t as easy as in London: Jews living
mostly in the East End and Golders Green, there.
Here, they could be anywhere, the world’s first
Jewish city, though thankfully, not nearly
as many people milling about as in London.
I’d best get started; she’s not going to walk up
to me, gushing she’s been trying to find me
all this time, though a feller can hope and dream.