For Jamie—a poem

J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prélude
Yo-Yo Ma, Six Evolutions
Recommended as accompaniment to the poem:
Listen to 30 seconds of the music, then read the poem. Let the music guide you. Pause when the words pause. Pause between stanzas. Listen. And at the end, listen to the rest of this amazing cello playing as the words soak into you.

For Jamie

 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
All rights reserved


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

One thought on “For Jamie—a poem

Kindly phrased comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.