Peaces, or: Jerusalem

I.

     You, wholly holy; we, ever so lowly
     Slip on limestones bearing your name
     Winter winds whip our brollies
     As we boldly, with folly
     Venture out to the streets in the rain
     Yet your sun's more unworldly
     Harsh gold rays broil slowly
     Through the Mid Eastern summer's domain
     And though your fate seems lonely
     We who are yours know
     Only
     The truest of passions are pain

II.

         I-
       Live you and love you
     I'm in and I'm of you
     Your hilltops have
     ruined my knees

         I've-
       Found naught above you
     But should I unglove you
     How bloodied would your
     knuckles be?

III.

     Yerushalayim
     a city of two
     peaces 
       at war 

     peace 
       rooted 
     in wholeness
     completeness completely
     sundered and some dare
     to brandish those plowshares

     not plowing, not sharing, not caring
     that their swords were beaten
     out of shape for a reason
     not for men to be beaten
     broadsided by the flat sides
     pierced through to their insides
     ruptured

     ruptured 
     peaces begging 
     begging begging isn't
     peace the beginning
     isn't
     
     peace
       rooted
     in wholeness

     begging isn't

IV.

     Plead 'next year in Jerusalem'
       That loss to our children remain unknown

     We've yearned ev'rywhere and always
       Here we belong; the Jews' hearts' one true home

     Your rhythmic rhymes stretch space and time
       A new bridge of chords; an old wall of stones

     Plead 'next year in Jerusalem'
       That loss to our children remain unknown

V. haiku

     Could she possibly
     lose you, blissfully skipping
     downhill to preschool?

Today, for d’Verse’s “Open Link Night”, I’d like to share a poem that I wrote last July, a few months after creating this blog.

I decided to share this poem mostly because I’ve been in a reflective and sharing mood recently.

This is me, Friends – an Israeli Jew living in and loving Jerusalem.

55 thoughts on “Peaces, or: Jerusalem”

  1. Lovely write David – some great imagery – I thought of Cavafy addressing his beloved Alexandria – so evocative – limestone pavements in the rain, ruined knees, deep history, intractable difficulties and that lovely light haiku at the end – of the next generation. So glad you shared this.

  2. The Holy City. Wholly powerful. Divided in our hearts, victim of the Roman Empire, scapegoat city, burnt offering, desperate sacrifice, burning smoke in our global nose, sweet, delicious, peaces of ancient stone. Bloody sword. Anti-Christ dagger, Messiah annointed. Oil oil oil olive mountain. Fountain. Cleansing bath. Ritual. Prayer. Life. Birth. Death. Kaddish.

  3. Such a variety of form and views of Jerusalem, David! I enoyed the alliteration and rhyme in the lines:
    ‘Winter winds whip our brollies
    As we boldly, with folly
    Venture out to the streets in the rain’
    and the way they are juxtaposed with the harsh gold rays broiling slowly’. ‘Your hilltops have ruined my knees’ and the wordplay in ‘a city of two peaces’ made me smile and I love the lines:
    Your rhythmic rhymes stretch space and time
    A new bridge of chords; an old wall of stones’.
    The haiku is heart-breaking.

  4. The heart has a long history in place and landscape — that Beloved we call Home. A full heart though is full of all of it, the joy and the breavement, the intimacy and the strange distance. All of that here in this home called Jerusalem, a mythic place, a difficult place, a true one, too. Well done –

  5. A beautiful piece, calling for peace. I especially love these lines:

    ‘ We who are yours know
    Only
    The truest of passions are pain’

    I feel your love for the city and your home coming through in your words.

  6. Beautiful, David. A loving tribute to your adopted city–the beauty, history, and the struggles all come through–and the aching knees. The haiku at the end adds a chilling reality to the myths and idealization, while not taking away anything you said before. This year I’ll think of you and your family when we say “Next year in Jerusalem.”

        1. I did! I was born here in Jerusalem and left here when I was 1.5-years-old. Then I moved back as an adult at 30-years-old 😀

          So I was both born here and moved here 🇮🇱

  7. This is a masterpiece, David. The rolling assonance of the first section is magnificent. It reads very smooth as if you’ve polished it well. One of my favorite lines is ‘Your hilltops have ruined my knees’ but this is a treasure chest of wonderful images. A poem to reread and share again with friends to discuss.

  8. This is so emotional…I love that you have integrated so fully into your place in the world, found your place in the world. It is such a gift, and you share it with us! thank you. (K)

  9. I so love the different forms in your different codas each giving its own view on the city of war and love, the contrasts with the knee-breaking hills, the streets, and the deeper meaning of the city that means so much to so many,

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