I was running through some old writings today. Looking for a poem about Tubas. And instead, I came across this one I wrote 18 years ago about Palestine. I never even remember writing it. And I can’t believe I was so conflicted internally about the external conflict in the Middle East even then. And I can’t believe it’s still going on almost two decades later. It pains me to the core that we can’t find a two-state solution. I say “we” because we are invested in this, the world needs this, our sense of global security needs this.
Sure, it’s naive and immature. But it speaks to the emotions that run through the heart of the matter.
I don’t begrudge your admiration,
She is beautiful,
Intelligent, kind and giving,
A devoted mother to her children,
A loyal wife.
You say that she belongs to you
By all God-given rights.
You have, in fact, been courting her for
Thousands of years.
You say she belongs to you,
That she was promised you,
An arranged marriage
Guaranteed by your Fathers,
Before either of you were even born,
Yet she is my wife,
We’ve grown together,
Our destinies are intertwined,
She is my earth, my sky, my sun,
Her flesh is dark and smooth,
Innocent and fresh,
And orchard which would become,
Upon your entry,
Immodest and unclean, and above all,
Tired, hurt, torn as well,
Bloodied with the guts
Of innumerable bodies,
Both yours and mine.
Try to get to her,
And you will have to battle through
Me and my ten (thousand) brothers,
With the grace of Dagon and his cold might,
We will defend her honor
Until our last breaths.
And if, by some unlucky chance,
Your tanks crush the last of them,
Breasts slashed by bullets and rockets,
At least let me have an ankle or an earlobe,
An inch of Filistina, her desert dust,
To remember her by.
The strength of your desire
For one to call your own
Is equally matched by my my own
Ever since God gave her to me
(And me to her)
On the world’s first Saturday.
So can you not see
That she was just as equally
Promised unto me?
Only I have known her better,
Deeper through the years,
Having shared a home, a hearth
A sacred life and land.
Who does she really belong to?
Why don’t we ask her?
Hush the clamor of fighting men,
And turn our ear to the golden sound
Of Filistina’s gentle cry,
Pitiful but pure, poppies on the breeze.
Surely you can hear
The love and dedication
To her people.