Thunder, wind and rain last night scattered leaves and small branches along the roads, covering cars with a blanket of fallen lives. Water that washed over the four quarters of Jerusalem—down the faces of The Western Wall, Al Aqsa Mosque, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and into the karst holding these buildings—today ropes into rivers threading to The Salt Sea. The currents bubble up in sweet springs along the way. En Gedi has quenched thirst for thousands of years, watered dates and olives amid weathered stone. The sweet water also slips further along, ending up riding on top of the mineral-laden Yam HaMelech, springing up again fresh pure-spirited, greening desert shores. You taught us that a life, too, could trace such a path across belief and suffering, sink into rock-roots, form braids with others, and emerge as life-giving water in a parched world.
Notes for the poem below
Images: Clockwise from upper left: Jamie Dedes, The BeZine files ©Jamie Dedes; Shulamit Spring, En Gedi area, ©2008 Michael Dickel; Hand in Springs, En Gedi area, ©2008 Michael Dickel; Jerusalem’s four quarters, from What makes Jerusalem so holy?, © BBC 2014
Notes for the poem
The four quarters of Jerusalem — The Armenian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Quarters
The Western Wall — the exposed section of wall that enclosed The Temple Mount, Jerusalem
Al Aqsa Mosque — one of the holiest Islamic sites, on top of The Temple Mount
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a sprawling complex of a cathedral that encompasses sites associated with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; the management / administration of the complex is divided between several different Christian denominations, the main ones (according to Wikipedia): Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox
The Salt Sea — a literal translation of ים המלח (Yam HaMelech), the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see Yam HaMelech)
En Gedi — the name of an oasis area (now a kibbutz and national park) in the cliffs above The Salt Sea, which has supported human habitation for thousands of years and been a stop-over for travelers for longer. Four springs provide water: En Gedi, En David, En Shulamit, and En Arugot
Yam HaMelech — the transliteration of the Hebrew ים המלח, literally, The Salt Sea, the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea); though springing from unrelated roots, the Hebrew מלח (melech — salt) and מלך (melach—king / ruler) sound similar; the word מַלְאָך (melakh, meaning messenger and translated as angel in Biblical texts), also sounds similar to מלח (melech — salt), but shares the root of מלך (melach—king / ruler); Yam HaMelech is associated with the land of Sodom, and there is a salt formation called “Lot’s Wife” in the region
©2020 Michael Dickel
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One thought on “For Jamie—a poem”
Fascinating piece, Michael, steeped in history and mystery … and hope.
I would be interested to understand where Mount Moriah sits in all this, both geographically and spiritually …?
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