East Jerusalem, a poem

You see
the man in the corner with the resolute eyes?
with the star for his emblem and a scar as his prize–
I hear
he drew a line in the sand between his ancient kin
and those other peoples up there in yerushalayim.
He’s there
with his settlement on the land, his eretz in the sand
and razored fence with guard-gate checkpoint plan.
It seems
he lives in a cage now,
like his grandfather in Dachau.
I hear
his mother called him Jacob and she thinks he hung the moon
but on the street they call him Ishmael, call him crazy as a loon.
I know
in the former times he had a dream, and that he wrestled with our God,
though nowadays it’s just surveillance schemes o’er sand and streets and sod.
Could be
requiring him to move’s like waiting for the hot sun to stand still,
so heated have the talks become, the rhetoric so shrill.
But if
ethnic crony segregation bows to democratic equality,
can the leopard lose his dogma spots, or the lion his mane identity?
Then when
hell freezes over and the leopard trades his spots,
its then the lion becomes a lamb, and Israel a melting pot.

Carey Rowland, author Glass half-Full


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