“. . . ordained the rubble to become a house . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

 The view from my hotel window in East Jerusalem. Photo Nov. 2, 2015, Harold Knight

For the next ten days, the format of this blog will be drastically changed. I will be writing from Palestine. This morning I am in East Jerusalem waiting to join the group of people here from all over the world to meet with and study with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem.
I encourage you to keep up with the day’s news from Palestine by using the links in “Online Sources” above, particularly the Ma’an News Agency and Mondoweiss.

I will be posting as often as possible from my other blog, Sumnonrabidus’s Blog. I thought it best to continue to keep my personal thoughts and reactions separate from the digest of news in this blog and return to the format I have established here when I return to the United States,

This is a poem that has haunted me since I first read it several months ago. I assume it is a dream, but it is starkly real in its imagery and affect. Copied from PoemHunters.com, http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/midnight-19/
MIDNIGHT,” BY MOURID BARGHOUTI.

My grandfather, still harbouring the illusion

that all is well with the world,

fills his countryside pipe

for the last time

before the advent of the helmets and bulldozers.
On the bulldozer’s teeth

my grandfather’s cloak gets hooked.
The bulldozer retreats a few yards,

empties its load,

comes back to fill its huge fork

and has never had enough.
Twenty times, the bulldozer

comes and goes,

my grandfather’s cloak still hooked on it.
After the dust and smoke

had cleared from the house that had been standing there

and as I was staring at the new emptiness

I saw my grandfather

wearing his cloak,
wearing the very same cloak,

not one that was similar

but the very same.
He hugged me and maintained a silent gaze

as if his look

ordained the rubble to become a house,

restored the curtains to the windows,

brought my grandmother back to her armchair,

and retrieved her coloured pills,

put back the sheets on the bed,

the lights on the ceiling,

the pictures on the walls,

as if his look brought the handles back to the doors

and the balconies to the stars,

as if it made us resume our dinner,

as if the world had not collapsed,

as if heaven had ears and eyes.
He went on staring at the emptiness.

I said:

What shall we do after the soldiers leave?

What will he do after the soldiers leave?

He slowly clenched his fist

recapturing a boxer’s resolve in his right hand,

his coarse bronze hand,

the hand which had tamed the thorny slope,

the hand which holds his hoe lightly

and with ease like prayer,

his hand which can split a tree stump with a single blow,

his hand open for forgiveness,

his hand closed on sweets to surprise his grandchildren,

his hand amputated

years ago.

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