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Last Words – Last

 He was my childhood friend – our parents too were such.

Suffering Nazi trauma made bonds that none could touch.

We each propped up, on a rock, in his courtyard home

I'm eight, he's two years more. Talk? No. We were too old.

What can I say?

His Mother's very proud of him,

Saved his life in Italy

Ran from office to Embassy

Visas got – ship's embarking.

What can I say?

His gentle soul and voice were such

That for confrontation he was no match

He aimed to please, until – too much

Must branch out finally, and leave the hutch.

What can I say?

We really were impressed by him

Found his match, through thick and thin

Enjoyed his new reality

Love birds true – life's rewarding!

What can I say?

Throughout the years we were in touch

Saw life, my kind, with kids and family

Lamenting for him? Not as such.

Wistful. He accepted, admiringly.

What can I say?

His wife, my friend too, called to say

Her darling husband's sadly on his way

Only a short time's left for him

Much of that he spends sleeping, just sleeping.

What can I say?

Corona traps me far away

They're in London, while me? In Israel.

Paper work. Mutations. Escape?

Calling his ward, I now must undertake.

What can I say?

Three days relentless 'phoning Morning, Noon and Night

'Asleep' says nurse Somebody. I can't get it right.

Suddenly Nurse Grace is, Wow! on the other end

'I'll see if he can take your call' is what she said.

What can I say?

Will he? Can he? Been told he's very weak.

Drenching sun, my heart skips a beat.

Then, 'I'm putting you through' kindly but curt

What can I say? My breath's cut short.

"What can I say?" he said to me.

His gentle softened voice was such

Our heart, our soul both felt its touch.

From my throat, words torn, pained, pity....

Although I really wanted to scream and shout

That Swine that's eating you, Why? Just cut him out!

Instead emerged from my crushed, anguished throat

Caring words, unstoppable, all burst forth.

'You're a wonderful person. Have my greatest admiration!'

Gushed out without the slightest hesitation

'I'm sorry, just can't tell you this, face to face, personally

Sorry – Corona, can't fly over. You see...'

"Let me go" I think he says that to me.

Maybe it's the intravenous morphine.

'With your wife I will stay in touch,'

Silence. Asleep? And then, "God Bless

And my love to your wonderful family."

'I will. You are one of us. God Bless.

Hashem will be looking after you'

"Good bye for now." 'Yes, Good bye for now,

and Shalom...'

What else can I say?

Shalom, dear friend,

Shalom, Shalom,

Until Eternity'

For Arye Leib ben Chaim – ben Perla bas Rav Zvi Arye 

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Monday, 18 October 2021

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