Posts tagged ‘Gaza’

Flowers of War



 22 July, 2014….. The Wahington Post:


Gaza deaths: ‘ Women and children first’.

For this Ameican Jew, a nightmare…  from which I am trying to make something.

This is a transformation of a well-known Israeli song:




Evening of Warflowers (A Hebrew Melody)


Evening and flowers of fire:
Let us go out to the fields,
far from the scent of tank-treads,
metal and burning flesh.

Night is slowly falling
over my glowing heart.
Let me whisper you a song
of lovers that never part.

Dawn and the mourning dove:
your hair alight like phosphorus.
If I cannot lie with you, my love,
then I will lie to both of us.





For echoes of other struggles, you can watch performances of the song I disfigured:

Miriam Makeba    

and  Harry Belafonte 

were both dedicated political activists as well as great popular performers.



That The Washington Post features the ‘kiiled breakdown’ graphic may be a sign of a sea change in “mainstream” perceptions of this calamity. If you want the whole WaPo thing from today, it’s  HERE

  But remember the graphic when you read about Hamas’s intransigence (first paragraph) and Israeli claims that the goal of their assault is “the return of the quiet in the whole of Israel”  (5th paragrap, right after Gaza deaths.). And “weep, for you may touch them not”  as Wilfred Owen wrote just before he, too, was killed in the Great War.





Onions and Lemons   (Gaza: January, 2009)


I went to the market
and all I could find there
was onions and lemons,

said Um Adel Abu Nahil,
resident of a Gaza camp,
trapped between Israeli tanks
and page A14, column 5
of this morning’s newspaper.

I went to breathe
but all I could find,

said another, was fire.

Every poet in Israel
lay down by the riverside
and beat their electronic swords
into shares of the New Israel Fund.

Thousands of Gazans became poets
and lay down in the dust,
waiting for water. The least
among them, children unlike yours and mine,
the blessed of the shelled Earth, the salt
of the blood-drinking Kevlar warriors,
lay down beside the corpses of their mothers.

I would gladly give up my home
a woman told me last week
and my land, in Maryland,
if I could trade it for peace over there.

A woman as kind as you or I, perhaps,
but wiser than a thousand ministers or
as was said of Hiroshima:
brighter than a million suns.

To kill, we send other peoples sons
for the most part. Blessed are the Refusers
for they shall see some bored officer,
or some conflicted officer, or some superior fool
commander with the commandment: Thou shalt kill.

You may leave your conscience at home,
but you shall go and lie down in the dust
with the children of Palestine, and embrace
their many aunts and uncles; they are the Chosen.

Honest journalists shall commit suicide
and be resurrected as witnesses. Poets
who cannot bite their tongues will be dragged
by their tongues, by Israeli colonels,
until we are turned completely inside out
so that all may see our revolting insides.

I would give my house. I have given my heart.
Neither giving nor forgiving will sate the beast of war.
We went down on the knees of our tongues in the desert
and tried not to look at the children with their dead eyes
and their dead mothers and their tortured fathers
and their enraged uncles. Would those children permit us
to become their aunts and uncles? No.
They have Abu Nahil. They have onion fields.
They have a vast paradise of lemons.

They have the self-righteous leaders
of “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
They’ve had a succession of US Presidents
and Secretaries of State, one at a time,
proffering their good offices in places
where even a gravedigger would hide his shovel in shame.

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