We are tired of the war.

We face the land too long contended.
The mountains groan where elephants and battalions trampled them,
The valleys of abandoned stones where citadels once stood.
The keening still stalks our ears, the mourning for our martyrs.
The people cry out each day from hunger.

Perhaps we trusted too much in those who launched the war.
In the father who enjoined us to take up swords.
In the son who fought long after we conquered the country and retook the city:
On to Idumea, he cried—on to Ammon, to Gilead, to Philistia.
We never relaxed our grip on our weapons, even on the Sabbath.

How do our babies engage with the world we promised them?
The soft faces with unmolded cheeks, clenched on hearing
The clash of metal and the throttled gasps of the wounded.

The Temple we fought for remains.
Let us unclasp our breastplates and enter.
Let us celebrate a holiday, even though it’s not the season for one.
Strike the flint and lay its spark amidst the oil.

Let us lift up our children
Where they can stretch aspiring fingers toward the precious glowing wicks.
Say to them, peace be our plunder.
Let the Earth breathe a year
While we rest beneath the vine and the fig tree.
Though we have little, we will clock its increase.
And we will come together again
To watch the days expand.

Andy Oram
December 19, 2017

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