Religious Confusion, or: Cooperation

Poetry Partners #6

‘Religious Confusion, or: Cooperation’, a poem by Ron Rowland of ‘Navigating This Thing We Call Life’

A synagogue
with a Catholic name
and an Islamic architect

And you thought
you were confused
I mean no disrespect

Religious cooperation
at its best
eight hundred years ago

Santa María la Blanca
of Toledo, Spain
a synagogue tableau 
  • Ron Rowland:
    • Photo by Ron Rowland (Interior of the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, October 15, 2021)

The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca

From Wikipedia:

The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca (literally Synagogue of Saint Mary the White, originally known as the Ibn Shushan Synagogue, or commonly the Congregational Synagogue of Toledo) is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo, Spain. Erected in 1180, according to an inscription on a beam, it is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church.

Its stylistic and cultural classification is unique among surviving buildings as it was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for Jewish use. It is considered a symbol of the cooperation that existed among the three cultures that populated the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages.”

A Cywydd Llosgyrnog by ben Alexander of ‘The Skeptic’s Kaddish’


What a miracle life is and how alike are all souls when they send their roots down deep and meet and are one!

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883 – 1957)
Flora, assorted, across earth,
Varied in height, leaves, fruits, hue, girth;
Spreading forth, generating.
Above, life's tiny, reaching shoots;
Under, unseen, far-stretching roots
That suit the penetrating.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

List of Poetry Partners

21 thoughts on “Religious Confusion, or: Cooperation”

  1. I’ve been several times in Toledo. During centuries Christians, Jews and Muslims have lived together until the Soanish Inquisition. I recommend you the book “The Last Song” written by Eva Wiseman. The story takes place in Toledo, at the end of the 15th century.

  2. Excellent poem on the picture David, very informative re it’s origins and well put together! 😁♥️

    1. The poem on the picture is not mine, Ken – that’s Ron’s… mine is the one below that. But, yes, I agree with you about the poem on the picture (and the picture itself too).


  3. David, I’ve been here. Toledo is a beautiful and incredible place where, for centuries, Christians, Jewish and Islamists lived together…until the Catholic Kings changed the peaceful panorama.

    1. Veera, how about something related to the sounds of the recent rains you experienced, since the prompt encourages us to use onomatopoeia? I’m signing off for 25 hours in a few minutes for Shabbat (we traditionally disconnect from electronic devices for this weekly holiday); I look forward to reading whatever you produce.


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