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Thursday, 24 June 2021 at 20:22

Megiddo, Israel

I've not posted for some time. So, I'll try to catch up over next few days and weeks.

Listening to the recent news from Israel reminded me of a series of poems I wrote after a visit there several years ago.

Megiddo is better known to us as Armageddon, site of an ancient Canaanite city and Biblical prophecy. This poem is part of a sequence Yod set in Israel during the Intifada which appeared in Pilgrim Tongues (Wrecking Ball, 2015).

Megiddo Junction

Route 66 forks off.
West Bank: Jenin’s just a stone’s throw east,
half-bulldozed, curfewed by the IDF.

Assyrians, Egyptians, Ottomans, British,
all yomped through here. Slid their arms
round Israel’s impossibly tiny waist.

Now the iron corset pinches - Green Line, Intifada -
cinches waist to an hour-glass these lines in sand
run through. One click north, it’s Armageddon:

camel’s hump or monk’s scruffy tonsure.
From the bald patch, look out where Jordan’s
just smudged horizon: the Valley of Jezreel’s

blunt with haze. Down there, all green bits fade.
It’s 40 in the shade. There is no shade.


She unplugs the plastic tappet, glugs water
from its blue-ridged shell. Hot as hell, you unstick
shirt from skin, wipe sweat from inside straw hat.

Nothing said. Displacement activities.
Blind fingers trace words. This rock’s
a palimpsest that’s thirty cities deep…

Lizards skedaddle. Stop. Beadily check
you out; or drop to breathless reps. Press-ups.
Khaki fatigues merge with dust or dark.

Little sun-driven engines discover fissures,
skitter off on erratic missions into stone,
seeking tunnels, caverns, water-courses…

It all began round here, you think: Big Bang,
the One True... and then that other thing...

You watch as what slipped skin through rock ghosts back.
Now tiny restless dynamos materialize;
you see saurians play tricks with their stored-up thunder.

Basilisks. Blood cool from rivers underground,
stripped to nerve, low bump, mere lobe,
they outstare, throb with something ancient, limbic.

Your mind’s on rifts, cracked stone, hind-brains;
things contrary, strange; cloven or twinned;

things winged yet featherless; mythic, primeval;
that crossroads where what slid, crawled, or crept
met the newly and clumsily bipedal.

Back at the car, you’re already headed north.
A dragonfly shimmers on the aerial’s stamen.
She turns the key; unwinds the road to Nazareth.



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Friday, 22 January 2010 at 11:26

When time permits I hope to be in a position to update my blog.
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