By Bernard J. Shapiro

Look to the east to a land far away but near

To a land where prophets roam and warriors do battle

Where the river Jordan flows in mystic splendor

Where hopes are born and dreams are realized

I look to a land of struggle, blood and tears

The Land is my people, the mother of the Jew

O Land of Zion, my heart longs for you.

The soil of Zion is good beyond measure

It rewards those who care enough

To see its beauty and its grace

Past the sand and stones of neglect

The valleys blossom with the fruit of Eden

And the mountains are ablaze with color, they sparkle with the dew

O Land of Zion, my heart belongs to you.

I wandered far and searched the earth for peace

But only in Zion was my heart at rest

And only in Jerusalem was my soul free at last

To seek the meaning of the universe and all its mysteries

To ponder the rebirth of my people and our destiny

Here in the hills and valleys of Israel, my understanding grew

O Land of Zion, my true love is with you.

* * *

(This poem was written in Jerusalem in 1967 and first published

in the Jewish Herald-Voice (Houston, TX) on December 13, 1973.)

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