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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

Leave a Reply to drjudybricbrac Cancel reply

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

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