War is raw in reverse, which is the state of foul play in Gaza.
Now, more than ever is the wrath of God reinvoked. As those
Once chosen now choose to persecute their close neighbours
In methods as lethal as the holocaust’s harsh killing joke.
For a joke can be seen as something separate to clear reason.
As with what Hitler decreed; all that followed was seeing how far
That tale spun, which is clearly happening now, as over seventy
Years of resentment breeds hatred, stemming it seems from
The sharing of what was thought at first to be won – after both
Tribulation and trial, Exodus and excoriation, but which has now
Become to my horror and to the horror of all the next nail
Hammered into the hands of the Palestinian born boy Bibles
Worship, whose equivalent today bleeds in Gaza. As his children
Are torn, truth’s impaled. One would never believe that so called
Holy Land was fought over. Or that the same soul stained city
Would be rendered in twain and reduced as being the homeground
From which the Palestinians are evicted by Israeli force
And by soldiers, as what we thought we were falls traduced.
I write this now as a jew and in a near state of panic, for while
Irreligious I am proud of my heritage, which contains survival
And strain, the pyramids, yes, and Shylock. Hollywood,
And a culture of tailors and towns long pillaged. So this has
Always felt like revenge, of the sourest sort, and more bitter
Than the pungent root sucked at Pesach to remind us of course
Of the past. I can taste and hear it today as Hamas fire rockets
And the threat of War like the virus and after Trump sounds
Like signs storming out of the earth, as a burning bush
Reconfigures, but which remains unseen when surrounded
By so much fired faith and crossed lines. If God is indeed
Speaking there, then no-one close can bare witness,
Or indeed hear the calling as the shouts of life and death
Duly clash. For just when the top end of the west thinks its free,
The Middle East carves fresh chaos. And what we thought
We knew about people and other places on earth fall to ash.
This need now for land, which seemingly can’t be shared,
Creates ruin; the kind that runs from the desert all the way
Towards overload. In our green and once pleasant land
There’s been plight that no-one ever dreamt of. The last few
Years have brought scandal once more around jewish codes.
But is anti-semitic feeling still that, or solely concerned now
With Israel? Zionism for me is as separate as the trainer is
To the road. I wear them not only to run, or rather to walk,
But for comfort. And yet once applied there’s a process
That others would call exercise. So, what has it become
Over there, but a set routine they can’t loosen. And what more
Will it take; how much horror, before they finally recognise
That unlike the knife Abraham placed against his son Isaac’s
Throat to test favour, these brutalities will not save them,
And nor, will it in time, bring them peace. For there can be
No true peace once there’s war. Everywhere’s raw once
That happens. For peace to come we’ll need Noah, or fresh
Tablets to form and release some new unknown truth
Belonging to Mohamed, Christ, or just Moses. And then, latterly,
Buddha, though only of course from rebirth, and at a time
When one’s race and one’s place as well is location and where
Each faith is the journey that with no destination reached
Achieves worth. There are protestations today.
Temples fall, raised. Lives are bartered. If one child cries
Is religion , or humanity itself doused in dirt? This is the question
Today: what do we live or die by? What do you believe?
For what reason? Look, Gaza is stripped. So’s the earth.
THE SECRET SHAME
When you have to be silent about what you are
Because of the shame in the name spelt by others,
Then, as with past days, or Peter’s first denial of Christ,
Danger is spread, impossibly thick; blood as butter,
Or, rather, the threat of blood rises, its pressure perhaps
Reaching spike. And suddenly the world holds its breath
After having that breath broiled by Covid, with News
As the next sharp injection, and there is no vaccine at all
For the germ that has lain under the skin for as long
It would seem as all sinew, as the Middle East,
Having fractured, makes every bone brittle and every
Moral upheld more infirm. Will America intervene,
As China calligraphies on the margins, after watching us
Cower and destroy ourselves all the more? And who will
Rake the ashes that fly through the warp in the wind
Made by missiles? In this new Next Testament story
Will a Messiah appear to walk through heaven’s door,
And re-emerge onto streets that are now full of landmines,
While we in England grow more detached within Pubs?
Its all people have wanted for months; the chance to compete
At the bar and see nothing but the next lager coming
While lugers abound over there and screams club
Whatever reason was won in 1948. That’s long over.
If its not Mumbai, or Haifa, or Tel Aviv, or Tehran,
Its Washington State, or Paliament fields in Westminster:
Which sort of war rages and runs rampage right now?
To who’s plan? Perhaps the world really does rest on the backs
Of that infinite number of turtles. If so, as we topple,
We’re spinning, no doubt, on a top, that is already
Starting to slow, and cast us all into orbits in which
The stars themselves become signals and not destinations
To save, or to seek, as skies stop. War is always something else,
Over there. Until it is over here. We’re all jewish. And more,
Importantly, we’re all Palestinians, too. Indians. Pakistanis.
Chinese. And those in Hong Kong. We’re all Chauvin.
We are George Floyd, and the countless; we are the eternal
Disappeared and the found. I do not want to teach the world
How to sing, as a song at best, must explain things. But I want
To bring the world back to poems, as poems contain
Common ground. And perhaps common prayer.
Or common sense, retranslated into a new code for being.
For while poems naturally can be fires, it is the embers within
That astound. Behaviour is faith and language now is religion.
For that secret shame to be mastered the waves it creates
Must be drowned and folded into themselves, so that we may
All sail and speak through a surface that no-one can part.
They won’t need to. But as Jerusalem burns besides Gaza,
And all systems suffer, I still need these words to wonder
Just which sort of waiting force will be crowned?
David Erdos May 18th 2021
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David Erdos May 15th 2021