Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: On the Road to Jerusalem    

Sabra is Hebrew

for cactus flower, prickly on the outside,

sweet in the middle.

 

In Arabic,

the word, saber: the virtue

of patience & tenacity.

 

I leave a prayer note in the cracks

of the Old City’s Western Wall. 1999.

 

Ehud Barak is prime minister,

the most decorated soldier in Israel

& a classical pianist.

 

*

In Ma’ale Adummim in the Judean desert

an ancient gang of thugs

robbed & beat a stranger.

 

A hated Samaritan stops to help. You know the story.

 

There the Israelis have built a strategic city:

40,000 mostly secular souls, housing for families

who can’t afford Jerusalem.

 

20 Israeli schools, 80 kindergartens, 40 synagogues,

built on land taken illegally,

though some dispute that.

 

*

Hamas Turns Back 37 Gaza War Orphans

for a Bridge-Building Trip to Israel

 

‘A suspicious trip aimed to normalize

our children with the Zionist occupation,’

says the Hamas official.

 

‘Hamas will make sure,’  he says,

‘that such a trip will never happen again.’

 

*

Gaza City, 76 kilometers from Jerusalem.

Half-hour flight. With road closures,

kidnappings & rocket fire,

driving not advisable. Some call Gaza

the world’s largest prison.

 

It does have the Mediterranean. Still, 1.8 million

in lockdown, two-thirds, children.

 

If you’re a journalist or trauma surgeon,

you can visit bombed-out factories

& sweltering concrete slums.

 

You can see black-masked militants.

There are brightly-colored posters honoring the men

on hunger strikes in Israeli jails.

 

Water queues, donkey carts, smuggling tunnels.

The bloody legs of a child in the al-Shifa

hospital morgue.

 

Living is the same as dying,

say the young men.


 

Copyright 2017 Joan E. Bauer. 

Previously published in Slipstream. Republished by permission of the author.

.

Old City of Jerusalem: a view of the Western Wall

One comment on “Joan E. Bauer: On the Road to Jerusalem    

  1. drjudybricbrac
    December 29, 2017

    Thank you, Joan, for such a moving poem! What a tragedy! Who are the real sabras?!?

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 29, 2017 by in Poetry, War and Peace and tagged , , , , , .
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