July 7, 2014

A poem by a friend traveling in Israel

My friend Jacob Wartell is traveling in Israel right now. He wrote this and posted it on social media. Reposted here with permission.

Though I had forgotten,
I am still a servant of the angel of bread.
Two days before the Sabbath
I catch sourdough culture
In Uncle Charlie's kitchen
Just east of Tel Aviv.
I feed it rye and spelt,
Olives and rosemary.
My aunt, she prefers a gentle gluten.
Me, I'm smitten with olives
In flavor if not metaphor alone.

The whole country slows down
And we bless bread.
The whole country slows down,
Except for riots in Jerusalem,
City of rosemary.
Our olives are burned,
Burned body of Palestinian teen
Two nights ago.
Most think far right show
Of revenge.

City of rosemary.
Country of olives.
We all did a poor job separating the pits
From the flesh.
May the angels of bread and tears
Keep us from breaking our teeth on the fragments.

City of rosemary.
Country of olives.
I spend all day eating bread and fish with my cousins.
One of them, she carries a happy baby.
Still too young to take issue with history
Or appreciate what a miracle
A thick crust can be.

There are riots in the Arab towns.
The olive trees have been around
A long, long time.
They have known many angels,
Seen much suffering,
Enjoyed many Sabbaths here.

--Jacob Wartell