A Poem from Jerusalem

As the War Continues

That war in the little southwest strip,
its violence drowns out all sounds—
words drain of meaning and become
white spaces against blood-red paper.
The numbers rise up, a large pile
of bodies reaching toward the sun
to ignite and burn, a pyre signaling
the beginning or end of a sacred time—

the bodies pile up, reach for the sun,
hoping to burn like stars to light this dark,
dark night…
but we all seem to have lost track,
our watches no longer ticking but
vibrating with technical accuracy
seconds and microseconds while
this flame of flesh, a mere candle wick,

flashes out into space in search
of extraterrestrial compassion. And
Gaza’s heavenward tower of bodily Babel
is even small against so many others,
this massive world-war of death
spreading out around us while we
shout out who is to blame, who
except for ourselves, ourselves

Sunset in Israel on Tu B'Av
Sunset, northern Israel 9 August 2014 (Tu B’Av)

turning away into silence and denial,
pointing at someone easier than seeing
a world around us in un-holy flames
cremating the innocent along with
the bloody-handed ones. Yet,
the sunset is so beautiful below
the clouds and over the sea, the
moon so light floating in the sky
above an orange cloud this Tu B’Av.


Tu B'Av1
Full moon on Tu B’Av (9 August 2014)


2 thoughts on “A Poem from Jerusalem”

  1. Tu B’Av? Don’t you mean Tisha b Av? I think you’r mixing it up with Tu B’shvat. Tisha b’av is the ninth of av. Tu B’s svat, stand for the Tet with a Vav after it, which means 15, the Tet being 9 and vav being 6 and you add them together and that’s 15. Tu B’shvat is Jewish Arbor Day.

    Poetic Inspiration


    1. Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning associated with the destruction of the Second Temple (and all other calamatous events in the Torah). It is the ninth day of the month of Av (or Ab). Tu B’Av is the fifteenth day of Av (or Ab, depending on how you transliterated the Hebrew) and is a holiday of love. It began the evening of the 10th of August this year and continued into the 11th (the photos are actually from the day before). I put a link on Tu B’Av on the poem where you can find more information. Here are three links (including that one):

      My Jewish Learning http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Modern_Holidays/Tu_BAv.shtml

      Chabad http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/53680/jewish/15th-of-Av.htm

      Jewish Virtual Library https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/tubav.html

      I hope that helps you understand that I did indeed mean Tu B’Av. Every month, by the way, has a fifteenth (Tu, טו), and it is the full moon because Rosh Chodesh is always the New Moon. However, Tu B’Av is particularly significant to the poem because it has to do with love, as well with it being (close to) the date the poem was written and a date where another ceasefire began (which may now have been extended).

      Liked by 1 person

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