The storm-startled sea splashed space-ward,
rose above the stone walls and metal rails,
appeared to touch the low-hung dark clouds,
before the white-foam spray collapsed into
shiny reflections of those gray behemoths—
sky-whales fallen to the flat earth below.
Even as a bit of sun and blue breaks the mood
at an acute angle, we seek the intimacy of couples,
private moments in poetry, the inward gaze that
turns its back to the thunder, wind, rain, hail and,
mostly, to the terror invoked by the raw power
so easily capable of destroying us and all we know.
We took our children to the Old Port of Tel Aviv
to watch the predicted high waves roll in. He
took his backpack into a store, and when ready,
pulled out an Uzi, walked into the street shooting—
in the same city, not so far, not too close. We turned
our backs and walked away as the border police went
door-to-door, knocking at each apartment entrance.
The news reports that they broke in if no one answered.
He gave them the excuse, and they opened those
intimate places absent their owners, absent reason
or folly, as though a power of nature eroding rock,
splashing against our resistance. I want this poem to end,
to turn us into the spray, the wave, the sea.
Now available as part of a free PDF chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism
Categories: Digital Art, Photography, poems, Poetry, Politics, Terrorism, Writing
Strong poem, Michael, & evocative images of Acco/Akko/Acre. I was there in late 1991 with my friend, Reva Sharon. My objective was to read from Baha’i scripture for my sister at the shrine in that old city. I’ve tweeted this poem, with a comment.
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Thanks. I hope you tagged me in the Tweet. @MYDekel469
We have no power to control the waves, the sky, or other people. We can only control our own reactions. Even then fear and courage must walk together. When a gunman killed 4 at a school my daughter attended, I learned that fear changed my perspective. I was not as brave as I thought. Thank you for such a powerful poem.
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Thank you for your comment. How terrifying the close personal experience of that school shooting must have been for you. Thank you for sharing here.
There are many beautiful lines in this piece, Michael, but I very much like the overall message – someone once said, “courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and being brave anyway.” Your poem points out the necessity for such courage, and the pictures are as striking as they are relevant. Well-penned.
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Thank you, Corina. I’m glad that you found it so.