Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Song at the Mandelbaum Gate

Until it was torn down in 1967,
the Mandelbaum Gate was the main checkpoint in Jerusalem,
defining the border between Israel and Jordan within the city.
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

(at other times this poem might have been entitled Song At Checkpoint Charlie, or Song At The Great Wall, or Song At Jericho, or Song At The Maginot Line, or even, though more implausibly, Song At The Frontier):

Even though I accuse History
   I do not blame it
Anything that grows is dual
      (a throw of chance
upon the heads and tails of fishes)
    or so the Christians say
referring to it as
            "the problem of good and evil" –

but a falsehood this duality
when white is all the colours
and black the absence of the colours
and grey barely distinguishable from grey
and what we think of as duality
is really the multiplicity
desperately struggling to become One

So I am intrigued by mirrors
So I neither hope nor despair
So I inevitably betray myself
     trying to live several different lives at once
So Gautama wept in the lotus-garden at Sakyamuni
          seeing the crocuses open before the sun
Nor is there any contradiction
   only this false duality
      proceeding by seeming opposites

     as a creative force
          implying progress
               as a force of destruction
and serving both
     and neither

So I do not hide my eyes
So the act of love becomes political
So I accuse
      but do not blame.

You can find David Prashker at:

Copyright © 2016 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment