Laraine Goddard

Songs for Palestine


I looked for you
in the Old Town. I found
families fled, empty homes, strangers.
I looked for you
from Jaffa's hill, searched 
the horizon, but saw only
a New City. In the whisper of a sigh 
I feel you, as heavy stones
in shoes worn down from wandering
a wilderness of wanting.


Sun hovers  
like an apricot 
over an expectant mouth, drizzling 
its last drops of sweetness
onto your bustling by-ways, cafés,			
street sellers. Yet tomorrow,
the daily checkpoint struggle.
Sea breeze beckons through
pitiless grey; a chink of hope
in a prison wall.

Mural by Banksy. Photo provided by Laraine Goddard.


Pilgrims sing
in the square, rejoicing; yet
no throngs thread the streets.
The Old Town sleeps; 
a million footfalls silenced.
Why do you not come this day,
this day, this day of His birth? 
Be not afraid; His star shines
for all of goodwill. Welcome,
we wait for you, insha'Allah.


I stand on the Mount of Prophecy, 
above a city rent East and West.
Sons of Isaac lie close,
terraces of silent gravestones speak.
Dome of the Rock flames gold,
immutable, calls to prayers
washed in salt tears.
Bitterness of brothers
poisons this hallowed cup;
raven's wing beats through your streets,
drowns out the singing of your children.
Women of Jerusalem weep
no more. No more,
this one death is enough.

—Laraine Goddard

Insha'Allah: Allah willing, God willing.

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