I could not have imagined Jerusalem

Jerusalem archwayI could not have imagined you, Jerusalem.

The colour of your stones, and of the land

And of the terraced hillsides, and of the desert,

Was yellow ochre tinged with white,

With lemon yellow, and vermilion.

But that was just the detail.

 

The essence was the might, the mightiness,

The peacefulness, the power,

The deep and hidden majesty,

Of four eternal spirits mingled.

Of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.

Along the polished stones and steps

(Polished from a million feet of pilgrims,

Seekers, tourists, lost souls and wondering dervishes),

Through narrow arches, round unexpected

Corners, with sellers of spices and shoes,

Tee shirts and jewels, we walked, slowly.

Along the way of sorrow there was one

Who dragged his cross, bumping over the

Cobbles, long time past. Within the green and golden

Dome there was a rock upon which Ibrahim sacrificed

And the Prophet began his ascent.

 

Deep down beneath the arches of the Holy Sepulchre

Church there was a womb like crypt. And below that, another.

Deeper and deeper into the bowels of the cool earth the spirit hid.

Guided by candles and candelabras, icons and incense

We descended.

 

In the church of Mary, another descent.

Many dark polished steps on which I paused,

For thought, for prayer, for cleansing,

For forgiveness, for awareness,

For wonder, for hope,

For the world to be released from chaos.

This time to the womb

Within which she lay, whose womb had held the Word.

 

At the tomb of Rabia there were tears.

At the tomb of Salman Farsi there was

The peace which passeth all understanding

(The peace which encompasses body mind and spirit,

Heart and soul).

At the mosque for Moses

In the timeless, restless, endless desert

There was rushing wind, urgent birdsong,

And watchful cats. I thought I heard Moses

Say “beware!” “be wary, humankind, watch out,

And notice what you’re doing……..!”

There was ancient stone reposing yet challenging,

And the graves of Bedouin.

No sellers of trite trinkets there

(They would not dare, they would not dare).

 

And now, we have to learn to care.

To care enough, this world to spare….

 

Clive Perrett