Improv on Psalm 137

Sunset over Jerusalem

Sunset over Jerusalem

For Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East.

Improv on Psalm 137

If I forget you, O Jerusalem –
if I forget the sunset playing across the wall of the Old City
the sound of shofar, muezzin,
and the bells of the Dormition of the Theotokos,

if I forget falafel and kosher
and pomegranate juice sold in the street,

if I forget the children of Yad Va Shem
and the sweet souk bargainings
for crèches and T shirts,
if I forget the old olive tree in Gethesemane
and the young fire jugglers on Ben Yehuda street,

if I forget Calvary –
beside the city transportation terminal
where they are pounding a protest
on the buses to Ramallah,

if I forget those whose songs were hanged
in the willow trees of
Babylon and Addis Abada, Kiev and New York,
Bucharest and Marrakesh and Auschwitz,
so that they could not sing
the klezmer or the zemer ivri,

and if I forget those who hang up the oud
and cannot sing
Palestinian hip hop or Baladi Baladi.

If I forget to tell all my little children
the holy stories of the holy land,
then let my hand be still and my tongue

be as dry as pottery shards
and archeological digs in this old City of David.

Olive press

Olive press

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4 Responses to Improv on Psalm 137

  1. beverlyogren@verizon.net says:

    Wow.  You brought me back.  But you also put me

  2. Breath-taking. And such delicious fruit from your trip – a vivid remembering –

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