Cleft from Limestone

Cleft from Limestone
by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Cleft from limestone, also from yeshiva bucharim dancing, singing, dreaming,
Near craggy outcropping, Kotel stones, white doves, sky-fostered illuminations,
Uniformed captains, part grisly machismo, cry for soldiers hunted, captured, killed.
This ancient real estate’s old, strong energy, radiates near demolition crews
Exploding evidence, but belongs not to busses deboarded, suspicious persons,
Intelligence officials laughing nervously near found limbs, storekeepers, tourists,
Scavenging birds, doves, dumpster cats, ragged curs sniffing law enforcement robots.
No nightclub on Ben Yehudah ever raised stimuli as extreme as terrorists’
Shrills. More leopards than gazelles, more banana groves than etrog orchards,
Salt, rock, sand, almonds, silver chalices, the rare Pidyon HaBen, provide proof.
Sfardi princes, everyday Brits, New Yorkers vacationing, sipping fresh orange juice,
Inhaling many hookahs’ smoke, implore iron skies for rain, for cool, for greener sands.
Bewitched young Yidden journey red-eyed, from Lakewood to Tel Aviv,
Meet, just once, those lovely kallot, who will prop up their Torah ambitions.
At aliyah, under chuppot built of wind chimes, dust, hopes, longings, starlight,
Those future beacons pray so hard that ancients commemorated at Yad Vashem,
Buried in Tsfat’s valleys, forgotten in Persian mounds, rotting beneath certain seas,
Old souls, all, hear the silver clarions, abide commands, roll, roll, roll quickly home.

0 thoughts on “Cleft from Limestone

  1. I’m not familiar with Israeli culture, but standing back a ways, I see this as a kind of sardonic wailing wall (Kotel) about the “state” of present-day Israel, beset by terrorists, tourists, students, archaeologists, and memories of the holocaust (Yad Vashem). “Cleft from limestone” of the past, it is rolled together with strings of details both ancient and modern into a nightmare, the heart of which is the “ancient real estate” re-invoked at the end by the “old souls” dead, buried, “rotting,” “all” heading home, on command. The complaint, I think, is that Jews, even though they may be compelled to, can’t go home again to anything sacred but violence and estrangement. For anyone who wants to claim a part of the holy land, the poem, adding another line to each stanza, weighs down upon them with the ongoing agony of its history.

Leave a Reply