‘Sleepless in Jerusalem’ and Other Poems

jerusalem

Howell-7By Lloyd Howell

Note: The following poems originally appeared in the 2010 issue of the Journal of Unification Studies.

Sleepless in Jerusalem

for M, a Jewish friend

Behold, he who keeps Israel will
neither slumber nor sleep. Ps. 121:4

Visiting your ancestral homeland for the first time,
you say that you had the best sleep
of your life –
the kind that only babies have!

I know what you mean but I pray
that you wake quickly
to the facts across town;
where the lines are being redrawn
and homes declared illegal
by bureaucratic fiat
to be bulldozed, without compensation.

Occupants,
no, I mean families;
to be exact, non-Jewish families,
removed by armed soldiers
following faceless orders from above
to soon stand, teeth gnashing,
in utter despair
amid unrecognizable rubble
children screaming, crying
their toys crushed,
their world gone,
now exposed to life’s inequities
at all too young an age.

Wake up!
There on the other side of town
enemies are being made;
yea, mass produced –
a house goes down,
a wall goes up
cutting off the ‘Arabs’ from you
and each other and jobs.
Soon you both will be totally
estranged from each other.

Wake up –
there on the other side [of town]
someone
is having a nightmare,
someone’s
arm is reaching out
as they are being pulled under by a tide of hate!

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