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Anon C Nov 2012
Oh Helena, how I doth know thy pain
Mocked is thine love when at love's feet thrown
Love hath looked upon thee with disdain
And yet still for him thy love hath grown

Do not despair Cupid's arrow at thine door does knock!
Upon thee, loves eyes an awakening will be placed
No longer can  love's spiteful eyes see thee and mock!
And to thine love will he quickly rush in haste

But first know before one is to have thy way
A comedy must first be struck upon
Alas Puck! Disaster hath struck and a game we must all play
Before order is once more restored and the past foregone

Oh no! Now a love thrown upon thee unwanted
Mockery suspected, no more of this dost thou deserve
Evermore another feeling given to thee daunted
But now sit back, let the story unfurl and observe!

Finally soft words to thee spoken so craved
At once entranced but then felt thee a fool!
From nowhere sweet words so spoken must be depraved!
And in thine heart feeling loves sting ever so cruel

Now thy dearest friend! Intertwined within such a conspiracy
Such betrayal! Dear girl know it is a mistake
Albeit twisted and buried in the cruelest irony
Thy dearest friend, thine love she does not wish to shake

Through troubles and trials thou maketh thy way to a beautiful field
Fast asleep next to the love thy value ever so
Puck, fix thy mistake, give Helena her love to finally wield
And at last house a mutual love to forever grow
Tribute to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Or more directly to Helena. Dear girl <3. First time trying to write in Shakespearean form so if anyone sees errors please feel free to point them out.
So it is eighteen years,
Helena, since we met!
A season so endears,
Nor you nor I forget
The fresh young faces that once clove
In that most fiery dawn of love.

We wandered to and fro,
Who knew not how to woo,
Those eighteen years ago,
Sweetheart, when I and you
Exchanged high vows in heaven's sight
That scarce survived a summer's night.

What scourge smote from the stars
What madness from the moon?
That night we broke the bars
Was quintessential June,
When you and I beneath the trees
Bartered our bold virginities.

Eighteen -years, months, or hours?
Time is a tyrant's toy!
Eternal are the flowers!
We are but girl and boy
Yet -since love leapt as swift to-night
As it had never left the light!

For fiercer from the South
Still flames your cruel hair,
And Trojan Helen's mouth
Still not so ripe and rare
As Helena's -nor love nor youth
So leaps with lust or thrills with truth.

Helena, still we hold
Flesh firmer, still we mix
Black hair with hair as gold.
Life has but served to fix
Our hearts; love lingers on the tongue,
And who loves once is always young.

The stars are still the same;
The changeful moon endures;
Come without fear or shame,
And draw my mouth to yours!
Youth fails, however flesh be fain;
Manhood and womanhood attain.

Life is a string of pearls,
And you the first I strung.
You left -first flower of girls! -
Life lyric on my tongue,
An indefatigable dance,
An inexhaustible romance!

Blush of love's dawn, bright bud
That bloomed for my delight,
First blossom of my blood,
Burn in that blood to-night!
Helena, Helena, fiercely fresh,
Your flesh flies fervent to my flesh.

What sage can dare impugn
Man's immortality?
Our godhead swims, immune
From death and destiny.
Ignored the bubble in the flow
Of love eighteen short years ago!

Time -I embrace all time
As my arm rings your waist.
Space -you surpass, sublime,
As, taking me, we taste
Omnipotence, sense slaying sense,
Soul slaying soul, omniscience.
Dawn Treader Jan 2017
At the apex of the Empire State Building
Beneath a resilient misty gray sky,
A perfectly dreary day to die
She's at her lowest low
In heeled shoes a mile high,
Youthful skin, but nothing behind dead hazel eyes,
Rose red lips which never spoke their mind,
A purse full of pills she'd rather leave behind
Beneath rich chocolate curls,
Helena's madness quietly unfurls
Her courage to jump, her fear of death
Weighing the outcome of future incomes
Against the agony of piling debts
She came down from her delusional high
When daddy's substitute for love called money ran bone dry
With the sky the limit, her mind is trapped
By the lie they told Helena as her life was mapped
Line by line they fed her from birth:
"A scholarly piece of paper and a lovely figure will define your worth
Choose wisely little princess, or your life will be hell on Earth"
Turning her back to the street below
Her courage to end it begins to grow
She closes her empty hazel eyes
Cranes her neck towards the sky
And whispers "Death do you hear me? No longer am I shy"
In her delusion she heeded Death's reply
"Come now dear angel, let's see you fly"
A rush of adrenaline was met with demise
Now nourishment for the maggots and the flies
Antidepressants mimicked the body of their owner,
Fractured bottles, tops open, pills strewn all over
Beautiful bones shattered against the pavement
Released she was, from her own mental enslavement
Trickling down the drain, carried by unrelenting rain
Into a New York sewer towards the darkness below,
A bright crimson flow
Quenches the thirst of a starving rat king
Entangled in thirteen tails as he lay dying
Grateful is the king to Helena's sacrifice
For he is trapped in this sewer and awaits his own demise
A glimpse he tasted from the world above
Bitter-sweet is the blood of a girl without love
I wanted to try a long story in poetic form, seemingly minor things are the difference between life and death to others.
Nomkhumbulwa Jan 2019
Enthusiast is a bit of an understatement,
My friend Claire could tell you that;
As we hiked from the West coast to the East coast of Scotland
At night she read "normal things" - while I read maps.

Of course I needed to be sure of the route,
But after 25 miles of walking that wasnt all-
I'd spend at least 3 hours staring and staring
The roads, the woods, the rivers, hostels, churches, pubs and schools....

In fact night after night I spent,
So long engrossed,
That after five nights,
I had one of the strangest dreams ever experienced.

I was "in" an OS map -
Walking a yellow road, past big red triangles,
Counting contours,
And heading straight for the strangest of all -
Just across the red road, the enormous half filled pint glass
- the public house of course!

Surreal dream that was,
But also great fun,
I was in an OS map...
One without people - I was the only one

I did ease up on the map reading after,
Thought I might start hallucinating otherwise,
Claire already thought I was slightly mad,
If I told her we needed to shelter from the rain in the giant pint glass - well, as I said, she already knew I was mad!

But my obsession is not limited to OS maps,
Oh no, its the entire World Atlas;
Continents, Countries, Oceans and territories,
Nothing escapes my attention in the World Atlas.

I have so so many maps,
Because people keep changing things,
From the names of Countries and places
To minor details...bridges...silly little things.

I have a map that says USSR,
The Soviet Union so large,
Now I have another with Russia,
Belarus, Estonia, Ukraine, and others that re-emerged.

Even isolated places like Greenland
People cant make up their mind,
Is it Nuuk or Godthaab?
They are both still there to confuse the mind.

I had a map with Zaire,
Once the biggest country in Africa,
Its now the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Needed to amend my map of Africa.

Ok, all maps up to date;
Just when I can rest my map brain...
Sudan is then split in two!!
Get out the map Emma - quick - draw a line!!

I dont know what I think would happen
If my maps were not up to date;
But I just cant take the risk,.
I have to change them before its too late.

Most recent of course was Swaziland,
How? Why? When?!
Its ok, i've read about it now,
And I understand...let me get my pen.

But Swaziland is so tiny
Now I need to write eSwatini (!)
My map is now such a mess
Time for a new one? No not yet - Swaziland has not yet changed like the rest!

I have to wait for cartographers
To catch up and make all the changes,
Or otherwise i'll only trust my own map
The one with scribbles all over the pages.

Its not just on a Country scale
Such changes do confuse us,
For even in South Africa alone -
New names replaces the oldies.

Port Elizabeth,
Now Nelson Mandela Bay;
I think its wonderful,
But its not what my map says!

Umtata became Mthata;
Another very welcome change,
But that one letter is on my mind...
Quick - cross out the "u"...in case we go insane!

Nothing is more messed up in my guide books,
Which consist almost exclusively of maps
Than the city of Durban....
Street names have changed...but "not quite yet"

I picked up a local map,
And not shown in the one I carried
- Its still in process of "changing",
So two names there are for almost every road!

Pretoria became Tshwane,
Again I agree with the name change,
But by now the maps in my book
Make so little sense - it could be mistaken for Adelaide!

I wont go into Rhodesia,
There have been so many changes across Africa,
But if they were before I was born,
It somehow doesnt seem so much to matter...

I only get frustrated with
Things that I know,
Before 1980 -
I had no maps to know.

I'd be talking about the Transkei, the Ciskei,
The Orange Free State and all,
More recent but left in the past -
I have none of those on my walls.

I focus more on Africa,
as most will know i'm a bit obsessed,
Being from a British Island on the African Plate,
...with Ascension drifting away with America...albeit very slow.

The Mid Atlantic Ridge runs between them,
From Iceland to the South Pole,
Dividing the Continental plates,
St Helena and Ascension came out of a hole...

My mind drifts a little to Asia,
Although I dont know it as well,
But...is it Burma or Myanmar now?
And is Palestine shrinking still?

Islands cause much fascination,
Being an Islander myself,
But mine is just the tip of a volcano,
The map doesnt show anything else.

As far as Islands go - the Atlantic is easy,
Try staring at the Pacific,
Such a vast and empty ocean,
Hides many secrets...more than the Atlantic.

You may think St Helena isolated,
But only till your eyes enter the Pacific,
It might be a huge mostly empty ocean,
But the vast Island chains are prolific.

There are fracture zone after fracture zone,
Creating Island chains and coral atolls;
From the Coral sea of Australia,
To the Galapagos of South America.

There's Polynesia, there's Melanesia,
Micronesia too;
And within these - hundreds of Islands...
And yes - I've tried to count them too..

We look for other British Islands,
Pitcairn - the most isolated of all;
And what a sorry story to tell..
About 60 people and half of them in jail...

Sometimes im desperately trying to find an Island
To replace my British non-British Island;
Those who think im mad loving South Africa-
Wont even begin to understand.

But this poem is not about emotion,
So i'll mention that no more,
Its more about Geography
- too many Islands to explore.

Staring at the Pacific
Can occupy at least three sleepless nights,
Remembering the names of the islands -
Is a much more difficult plight.

Most heart breaking about this Ocean,
Is the Islands being lost;
Populations having to leave,
As sea levels rise and coral islands are lost...

I think I have found my location,
or a few i'd give a try,
On a large map they simply appear as "bumps"
Surrounded by bigger Islands, and the ocean wide

Sleepless nights have drawn me to Tokelau;
A tiny territory of New Zealand;
Three beautiful coral atolls...
But oh so far from New Zealand.

Less than one thousand people,
Yet with their own language,
The closest Island is Samoa,
That boat journey for me would be a privilege...

The Island has 100% clean energy,
With so few people to sustain,
It's setting an example for the World,
Tokelau looks like "paradise" on my map....if I had to give it a new name...

Indigenous people full of colour,
Flowers round their necks and some clothes a recent thing,
They even have their own musical culture,
Its only mass worry is rising tides - and the flat atolls eventually submerging....

There is another island I look at,
With its tribal peoples far more "untouched",
It really is like a land time forgot,
Although it does have an airport..

It is the Island of "Mog-Mog"...
Yes...I didnt make that up..
It really does exist,
Although I admit it took me years to discover on my map...

I wont mention where it is,
I dont want to give it away;
My maps are full of secrets,
And that is how some should stay.

You can visit from Tahiti,
Which is more like France than its surrounds;
But Mog-Mog is a totally different world,
Dont be fooled by Tahiti - Mog-Mog is part of the "untouched surrounds"

I could talk about these Islands forever,
As even I have not discovered them all,
But I have to finish with the Indian Ocean,
The Chagos Islands are British afterall...

What happened to the Chagossians
was a cruel sin of humankind,
Not just ST Helena suffers at the hands of the British
- Chagossians were forced to leave their Isle behind...

To make way for an American Air base,
Ascension - how familiar does that sound?!
The story of the Chagossian tragedy
Must touch every Islander to be found...

The Chagossians also inspire us however,
For fifty years on they are still fighting,
Fighting to return to their homeland,
Now a heavily guarded secret is their homeland...

My people however dont seem to care,
And that does make me sad;
This is another British Island
Not in the Atlantic, or Caribbean - but that does not make it bad...

The powers at be are so evil
That even after the fifty year lease was up..
The British just signed yet another...
As for the Islanders - they just want forgot...

I support the Chagossian people,
In their desperate fight to go home,
Even after deportation-
Their British Citizenship rights are next to none...

I am not proud of my motherland either,
And im not the only one;
I dont consider myself even British,
I dont "worship" my motherland like some...

I see what is really happening,
In St Helena and other "Crown Territories",
Just take a moment to look at them all....
and let me know if you find any that are totally "free"...

....oppression comes in many forms....

........................Nomkhumbulwa...
This isnt my usual style; it was heavily influenced by a huge amount of Diazepam.  But hey - its less depressing than usual....
It is full summer now, the heart of June;
Not yet the sunburnt reapers are astir
Upon the upland meadow where too soon
Rich autumn time, the season’s usurer,
Will lend his hoarded gold to all the trees,
And see his treasure scattered by the wild and spendthrift breeze.

Too soon indeed! yet here the daffodil,
That love-child of the Spring, has lingered on
To vex the rose with jealousy, and still
The harebell spreads her azure pavilion,
And like a strayed and wandering reveller
Abandoned of its brothers, whom long since June’s messenger

The missel-thrush has frighted from the glade,
One pale narcissus loiters fearfully
Close to a shadowy nook, where half afraid
Of their own loveliness some violets lie
That will not look the gold sun in the face
For fear of too much splendour,—ah! methinks it is a place

Which should be trodden by Persephone
When wearied of the flowerless fields of Dis!
Or danced on by the lads of Arcady!
The hidden secret of eternal bliss
Known to the Grecian here a man might find,
Ah! you and I may find it now if Love and Sleep be kind.

There are the flowers which mourning Herakles
Strewed on the tomb of Hylas, columbine,
Its white doves all a-flutter where the breeze
Kissed them too harshly, the small celandine,
That yellow-kirtled chorister of eve,
And lilac lady’s-smock,—but let them bloom alone, and leave

Yon spired hollyhock red-crocketed
To sway its silent chimes, else must the bee,
Its little bellringer, go seek instead
Some other pleasaunce; the anemone
That weeps at daybreak, like a silly girl
Before her love, and hardly lets the butterflies unfurl

Their painted wings beside it,—bid it pine
In pale virginity; the winter snow
Will suit it better than those lips of thine
Whose fires would but scorch it, rather go
And pluck that amorous flower which blooms alone,
Fed by the pander wind with dust of kisses not its own.

The trumpet-mouths of red convolvulus
So dear to maidens, creamy meadow-sweet
Whiter than Juno’s throat and odorous
As all Arabia, hyacinths the feet
Of Huntress Dian would be loth to mar
For any dappled fawn,—pluck these, and those fond flowers which
are

Fairer than what Queen Venus trod upon
Beneath the pines of Ida, eucharis,
That morning star which does not dread the sun,
And budding marjoram which but to kiss
Would sweeten Cytheraea’s lips and make
Adonis jealous,—these for thy head,—and for thy girdle take

Yon curving spray of purple clematis
Whose gorgeous dye outflames the Tyrian King,
And foxgloves with their nodding chalices,
But that one narciss which the startled Spring
Let from her kirtle fall when first she heard
In her own woods the wild tempestuous song of summer’s bird,

Ah! leave it for a subtle memory
Of those sweet tremulous days of rain and sun,
When April laughed between her tears to see
The early primrose with shy footsteps run
From the gnarled oak-tree roots till all the wold,
Spite of its brown and trampled leaves, grew bright with shimmering
gold.

Nay, pluck it too, it is not half so sweet
As thou thyself, my soul’s idolatry!
And when thou art a-wearied at thy feet
Shall oxlips weave their brightest tapestry,
For thee the woodbine shall forget its pride
And veil its tangled whorls, and thou shalt walk on daisies pied.

And I will cut a reed by yonder spring
And make the wood-gods jealous, and old Pan
Wonder what young intruder dares to sing
In these still haunts, where never foot of man
Should tread at evening, lest he chance to spy
The marble limbs of Artemis and all her company.

And I will tell thee why the jacinth wears
Such dread embroidery of dolorous moan,
And why the hapless nightingale forbears
To sing her song at noon, but weeps alone
When the fleet swallow sleeps, and rich men feast,
And why the laurel trembles when she sees the lightening east.

And I will sing how sad Proserpina
Unto a grave and gloomy Lord was wed,
And lure the silver-breasted Helena
Back from the lotus meadows of the dead,
So shalt thou see that awful loveliness
For which two mighty Hosts met fearfully in war’s abyss!

And then I’ll pipe to thee that Grecian tale
How Cynthia loves the lad Endymion,
And hidden in a grey and misty veil
Hies to the cliffs of Latmos once the Sun
Leaps from his ocean bed in fruitless chase
Of those pale flying feet which fade away in his embrace.

And if my flute can breathe sweet melody,
We may behold Her face who long ago
Dwelt among men by the AEgean sea,
And whose sad house with pillaged portico
And friezeless wall and columns toppled down
Looms o’er the ruins of that fair and violet cinctured town.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry still awhile,
They are not dead, thine ancient votaries;
Some few there are to whom thy radiant smile
Is better than a thousand victories,
Though all the nobly slain of Waterloo
Rise up in wrath against them! tarry still, there are a few

Who for thy sake would give their manlihood
And consecrate their being; I at least
Have done so, made thy lips my daily food,
And in thy temples found a goodlier feast
Than this starved age can give me, spite of all
Its new-found creeds so sceptical and so dogmatical.

Here not Cephissos, not Ilissos flows,
The woods of white Colonos are not here,
On our bleak hills the olive never blows,
No simple priest conducts his lowing steer
Up the steep marble way, nor through the town
Do laughing maidens bear to thee the crocus-flowered gown.

Yet tarry! for the boy who loved thee best,
Whose very name should be a memory
To make thee linger, sleeps in silent rest
Beneath the Roman walls, and melody
Still mourns her sweetest lyre; none can play
The lute of Adonais:  with his lips Song passed away.

Nay, when Keats died the Muses still had left
One silver voice to sing his threnody,
But ah! too soon of it we were bereft
When on that riven night and stormy sea
Panthea claimed her singer as her own,
And slew the mouth that praised her; since which time we walk
alone,

Save for that fiery heart, that morning star
Of re-arisen England, whose clear eye
Saw from our tottering throne and waste of war
The grand Greek limbs of young Democracy
Rise mightily like Hesperus and bring
The great Republic! him at least thy love hath taught to sing,

And he hath been with thee at Thessaly,
And seen white Atalanta fleet of foot
In passionless and fierce virginity
Hunting the tusked boar, his honied lute
Hath pierced the cavern of the hollow hill,
And Venus laughs to know one knee will bow before her still.

And he hath kissed the lips of Proserpine,
And sung the Galilaean’s requiem,
That wounded forehead dashed with blood and wine
He hath discrowned, the Ancient Gods in him
Have found their last, most ardent worshipper,
And the new Sign grows grey and dim before its conqueror.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry with us still,
It is not quenched the torch of poesy,
The star that shook above the Eastern hill
Holds unassailed its argent armoury
From all the gathering gloom and fretful fight—
O tarry with us still! for through the long and common night,

Morris, our sweet and simple Chaucer’s child,
Dear heritor of Spenser’s tuneful reed,
With soft and sylvan pipe has oft beguiled
The weary soul of man in troublous need,
And from the far and flowerless fields of ice
Has brought fair flowers to make an earthly paradise.

We know them all, Gudrun the strong men’s bride,
Aslaug and Olafson we know them all,
How giant Grettir fought and Sigurd died,
And what enchantment held the king in thrall
When lonely Brynhild wrestled with the powers
That war against all passion, ah! how oft through summer hours,

Long listless summer hours when the noon
Being enamoured of a damask rose
Forgets to journey westward, till the moon
The pale usurper of its tribute grows
From a thin sickle to a silver shield
And chides its loitering car—how oft, in some cool grassy field

Far from the cricket-ground and noisy eight,
At Bagley, where the rustling bluebells come
Almost before the blackbird finds a mate
And overstay the swallow, and the hum
Of many murmuring bees flits through the leaves,
Have I lain poring on the dreamy tales his fancy weaves,

And through their unreal woes and mimic pain
Wept for myself, and so was purified,
And in their simple mirth grew glad again;
For as I sailed upon that pictured tide
The strength and splendour of the storm was mine
Without the storm’s red ruin, for the singer is divine;

The little laugh of water falling down
Is not so musical, the clammy gold
Close hoarded in the tiny waxen town
Has less of sweetness in it, and the old
Half-withered reeds that waved in Arcady
Touched by his lips break forth again to fresher harmony.

Spirit of Beauty, tarry yet awhile!
Although the cheating merchants of the mart
With iron roads profane our lovely isle,
And break on whirling wheels the limbs of Art,
Ay! though the crowded factories beget
The blindworm Ignorance that slays the soul, O tarry yet!

For One at least there is,—He bears his name
From Dante and the seraph Gabriel,—
Whose double laurels burn with deathless flame
To light thine altar; He too loves thee well,
Who saw old Merlin lured in Vivien’s snare,
And the white feet of angels coming down the golden stair,

Loves thee so well, that all the World for him
A gorgeous-coloured vestiture must wear,
And Sorrow take a purple diadem,
Or else be no more Sorrow, and Despair
Gild its own thorns, and Pain, like Adon, be
Even in anguish beautiful;—such is the empery

Which Painters hold, and such the heritage
This gentle solemn Spirit doth possess,
Being a better mirror of his age
In all his pity, love, and weariness,
Than those who can but copy common things,
And leave the Soul unpainted with its mighty questionings.

But they are few, and all romance has flown,
And men can prophesy about the sun,
And lecture on his arrows—how, alone,
Through a waste void the soulless atoms run,
How from each tree its weeping nymph has fled,
And that no more ’mid English reeds a Naiad shows her head.

Methinks these new Actaeons boast too soon
That they have spied on beauty; what if we
Have analysed the rainbow, robbed the moon
Of her most ancient, chastest mystery,
Shall I, the last Endymion, lose all hope
Because rude eyes peer at my mistress through a telescope!

What profit if this scientific age
Burst through our gates with all its retinue
Of modern miracles!  Can it assuage
One lover’s breaking heart? what can it do
To make one life more beautiful, one day
More godlike in its period? but now the Age of Clay

Returns in horrid cycle, and the earth
Hath borne again a noisy progeny
Of ignorant Titans, whose ungodly birth
Hurls them against the august hierarchy
Which sat upon Olympus; to the Dust
They have appealed, and to that barren arbiter they must

Repair for judgment; let them, if they can,
From Natural Warfare and insensate Chance,
Create the new Ideal rule for man!
Methinks that was not my inheritance;
For I was nurtured otherwise, my soul
Passes from higher heights of life to a more supreme goal.

Lo! while we spake the earth did turn away
Her visage from the God, and Hecate’s boat
Rose silver-laden, till the jealous day
Blew all its torches out:  I did not note
The waning hours, to young Endymions
Time’s palsied fingers count in vain his rosary of suns!

Mark how the yellow iris wearily
Leans back its throat, as though it would be kissed
By its false chamberer, the dragon-fly,
Who, like a blue vein on a girl’s white wrist,
Sleeps on that snowy primrose of the night,
Which ‘gins to flush with crimson shame, and die beneath the light.

Come let us go, against the pallid shield
Of the wan sky the almond blossoms gleam,
The corncrake nested in the unmown field
Answers its mate, across the misty stream
On fitful wing the startled curlews fly,
And in his sedgy bed the lark, for joy that Day is nigh,

Scatters the pearled dew from off the grass,
In tremulous ecstasy to greet the sun,
Who soon in gilded panoply will pass
Forth from yon orange-curtained pavilion
Hung in the burning east:  see, the red rim
O’ertops the expectant hills! it is the God! for love of him

Already the shrill lark is out of sight,
Flooding with waves of song this silent dell,—
Ah! there is something more in that bird’s flight
Than could be tested in a crucible!—
But the air freshens, let us go, why soon
The woodmen will be here; how we have lived this night of June!
Coleen Mzarriz Jul 2020
The seawater's saltiness and the tears from the sky passed through my nostrils—the abiding flavor of its bitterness came to me in a halt. Its rushing waves splattered all around. My white floral dress, covered in blood—and its aroma; the aroma of my crimson blood thirst me to sip more.

“Helena, Hel- Helena!” A familiar voice lulled me to wake up. It woke me to a familiar dream I could not forget—the way it keeps pulling me back; it is my cord of weakness. Its cacophony—the reverie; is all I could remember.

A rattling noise distracted me from the trance of my thoughts—we passed by trees standing strong, winds tugging out our hairs—while there played, ‘The Ghost of You’ hang there to lull us in peace; while the quiet August's night disturbs me from within.

“Helbound Town” As we strode across the gateway sign of Helbound, the chills of the night disturbed my senses—summer is about to end, as the month of September lies beneath the thin.
An enormous ancient house welcomed us and the old graveyard greeted me, where the deceased buried me in millions of 'hellos.'

“Come on in.” My Dad yelled when he opened the door. The creaking sound creeps into my bones. As the new Blacksmith House greeted us once again with antique furniture and the aroma of its damp and mildew odor; this is the new home of the Blacksmith.

“Listen, children. All of you go to sleep, and we'll drive down the Town tomorrow.” Dad called out, and we peeped into our new rooms. I pass by my window and the faint sound of the rustling leaves caught me in a swift, “Someone is out there” I whispered and peeked into the narrow window, as I move closer—my phone rang.

“Why are you calling in the middle of the night?!” I frowned when Steph wasn't talking. It's all just jarring sounds and the hushed voices. As I was about to end it, the rustling leaves and the hissing winds startled me. “W-what is this?” I peeked again, and a shadow stalked me from behind the tall tree.

“Hello. Welcome to my territory.” The shadow revealed himself—it was a familiar face. I am sure I met him somewhere; somewhere I couldn't remember.

“Who's this?!” I hissed. The man chuckled and let out a sigh. “Your savior.” He smiled. He's only meters away from my cracked window.

“Don't joke around. You don't know who you're messing with. Also, why do you have my Friend's number?!” I shouted. I couldn't stop myself from cursing and hissing.

He's getting on my nerves.

“Come on. It's just me, don't you remember?” He asked.

“What are you talking about? I don't know you!” I was about to end the call when he threw a rock and it landed on the cracked side of my window.

“H-how dare y-you!? What are you doing? Get out!” The veins on my neck were visible when I stopped myself from screaming so loud. How could this guy!

It was the sound of his genuine laugh that buzzed my ears. It was almost a gentle whisper that hissed in the bone-chilling of the Midnight.

“Goodnight. I will see you tomorrow. They are already waiting for you, Helena.” Then he disappeared in just a swift blink of an eye. I didn't even ask for his name.

There's a part of me that longs for his embrace. A part of me that wants him to be my sanctuary.

We drove past the quiet road of Helbound and went out to see the entire part of the Town. The people welcomed us with pairs of eyes scrutinizing our every move. The children in the street stopped midway and stared at us like we are new things strode past them.

The Town that was once lively and rambling on the narrow part of town was gawking at us—there is something in their eyes that brought danger inside me. Again, a familiar sense—a hidden trance where my mind couldn't remember.

“Come here.” The woman called in a dull monotone. We ignored the pairs of every eye we meet as we enter the small gray and grim of an old restaurant.

“They are just like that when they see new people that come here.” The woman added. My Mom and Dad looked at each other and ushered my two sisters and me to come closer.

“Stay here.” My mom whispered. The woman smirked and the moment I caught her eyes, there was something in her I smell...

Fear was to be seen in her dilated pupils.

“Casper, hurry!” The woman shouted at the back of the room. And there, the guy I talked to last night was here. In front of me. “Here you are” He mouthed and smiled.

The woman then went back and in just a blink of an eye, there is blood splattered everywhere. The horror in my eyes went away and it transforms into a hungry wolf.

I can't... I can't eat them!

“Eat. Eat you witch!” The woman screamed so loud. The cacophony of the surroundings and the muffled screams of people came all in once.

What is happening? What am I? Who am I?

I let out a loud cry—enough for all to hear. Enough for all to see. Then I laughed.

You caught me there.

In just a keen move, Casper was the only one alive.

The seawater's saltiness and the tears from the sky passed through my nostrils—the abiding flavor of its bitterness came to me in a halt. Its rushing waves splattered all around. My white floral dress, covered in blood—and its aroma; the aroma of my crimson blood thirst me to sip more.

I woke up to the rushing waves and the call of the sea. Casper was here—he smiled and reached for my hands.

“I want to eat more.” I pleaded.

“There's a family that wants to adopt you. Now's the chance.” He grinned and kissed my forehead.

“They're waiting for you, Helena. Let's go to their place.” He whispered and chased on the waves. I let out a slight smile and wiped the dried drops of blood.

“I can't wait to meet them.”
A flash fiction.
RAJ NANDY Dec 2017
THE TRUE STORY OF JERUSALEM IN VERSE :
  FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP'S RECOGNITION
Dear Readers, to usher in the spirit of Christmas, I wish to
share with you the true Story of Jerusalem in Verse. Based on
Biblical chronology, and several articles about its Early History.
Though the three of our World’s greatest religions have a common
lineage, yet religious bickering and hatred continues to exist in
our present age! Let this Season of Christmas bring peace with
goodwill and love. Let us all pray together for a peaceful World!
If you like this true story, kindly recommend it to all your poet
friends to read this slice of History. Thanks, from Raj Nandy.

   STORY OF JERUSALEM - GOD'S “PROMISED LAND”
                         IN VERSE: By Raj Nandy
                  
                       INTRODUCTION
After reading my ‘Arab Contribution to Science’ and the
downfall of Islam’s Golden Age,
A friend had requested me to write about The Crusades.
Now the Mongol contribution was far greater towards
Islamic Empire’s downfall,
For though the First Crusade besieged the Holy City of
Jerusalem making it fall,
The subsequent Crusades to the Seljuk Turks lost all!
But before writing about the Nine Crusades proper,
To acquaint my readers with the historic city of
Jerusalem becomes my present endeavor.
For Jerusalem is sacred to the Jews, Christian, and the
Muslims alike,
As their holy relics and shrines are housed in that Old
City’s revered sites!
But prior to narrating the story of Old Jerusalem City,
Let me tell you briefly about its early history.
About the patriarch Abraham, whom God led to this
‘Promised Land’.
From where this true story of Jerusalem really began.

                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
The city of Jerusalem was twice razed to the ground.
Besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and
recaptured 44 times, surprising as it all may sound!
In an era of idolatry and multiple gods, Abraham born*
in the ancient City of Ur,# believed in a single God!
(1800 BC)
So God was pleased and in a covenant with Patriarch
Abraham,
Blessed him to become the ‘Father of Many Nations’
in a distant ‘Promised Land’!
Thus Abraham with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot,
Entered the Land of Canaan as promised by God.
But when a famine ravaged the Land of Canaan,
Abraham had moved onto Egypt on his own!
Having suffered there for some ungodly acts, his
return to the Land of Canaan remains a historical fact.
Through Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, -
his son Ishmael was born.
From Ishmael descended the ‘Ishmaelites’, to
become the Twelve Arab Tribes later on!
Next, with the blessings of the Lord, to Abraham
and Sarah son Isaac was born.
Isaac’s son Jacob fathered the Twelve Jewish Tribes,
Who became collectively known as the ‘Israelites’.
From the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ came King Saul, the
first King of united Israel rising tall.
From the ‘Tribe of Judah’ King David, Solomon, and
several Kings of Judah did rise;
As proud forefathers of the Messiah Jesus Christ!
Thus in Judaism both the Arabs and the Christians
find a common lineage;
Yet unfortunately bitter differences continue to
exist even in our present age!
NOTES: Canaan was the ancient name of a large & prosperous
country (at times independent, at others a territory to Egypt),
which roughly corresponds to present day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Canaan
was also known as ‘Phoenicia’ between 3200 BC & 539 BC. # Ur = an important
Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.


           ORIGINS OF JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has been hailed by many names,
Gets mentioned as ‘Rushalium’ in an ancient
Egyptian text!  (2000 BC)
Also as Salem, Moriah, Jebus and Zion, this capital city
of the Israelites had been known.
Jerusalem as the remnant town of Salem, is also
mentioned in the ‘Book of Joshua’ Chapter Ten.
It was earlier a Jebusite City, which was conquered by  
King David around 1003 BC;
When David shifted his capital to Jerusalem from Hebron.
In Jerusalem he kept the Holy Ark in a sacred Tabernacle,
For which his son King Solomon had built the First Great
Temple.
This Sacred Ark contained the ‘Ten Commandments’,
Which accompanied the Israelites during their 40 years
of desert wandering with Moses, as their guidance!
But since majority of the tribes were hesitant to fight the
Canaanites for their ‘Promised Land’,
God blessed Joshua, the successor of Moses, to lead the
Tribes to their ‘Promised Land’.
NOTE: Jebusite was one of the ancient Canaanite tribes, conquered by
King David.

        TURBULENT HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Now cutting across several centuries of its dynamic
history, let me continue with Jerusalem’s Story.
The death of King Solomon (931 BC) ended Israel’s
‘Golden Age’,
And this united Kingdom of Israel was split into
Northern and Southern states.
Ten Tribes formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel
with its capital at Samaria;
While Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern
half called Judea.
In unity lies strength, and in division further dissention;
This kingdom of King David and Solomon now becomes
prey to several foreign invasions!
Jerusalem gets attacked by the Egyptians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, and those imperial Romans, who
had initially built but later destroyed the Second
Jewish Temple!
The cruel King Herod, Judea’s Roman Protector,
Though of unstable mind, was a great builder!
‘The Wailing Wall’ and most of the ruins visible today,
Were built by the despot Herod as Archeologists say!
King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount with a massive
retaining wall around it.
Renovated the Second Temple which finally acquired  
his name!
But in 70 AD the Roman Emperor Titus, razed this
Second Temple to the ground, as Historians inform us!
Jerusalem had some peace under the Christian Byzantine
Emperor Constantine,
Who upheld Christianity, and his mother Helena inspired
the building of many hallowed shrines;
Only to be occupied by the Seljuk Turks later, who
desecrated those shrines!
Till the First Crusade in 1099 captured Jerusalem, to
provide eighty eight years of respite.
Next in 1187 the Seljuk Turk Saladin conquered Jerusalem;
When a peace treaty with Richard ‘The Lion Heart’ allowed
the visit of its ‘Holy Shrines’ by the Christians.
The British captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks
in Nineteen hundred and seventeen;
And in 1948 the State of Israel was born, realizing
Abraham’s dream!
But surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides, Israel
had to fight continuously for its survival as a Nation;
And now I pause to pay my humble tribute to those
valiant Israelites with salutation!

           THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM
Nestled on the hollow of the hills of Judea this city
spreads out on a plateau 800 meters above the sea.
With its Dome shining in the sun, dominating  some five
thousand years of history!
The City stretches 0.9 square kilometers surrounded by
retaining walls between 16 to 46 feet in height.
Which includes more than 200 monuments and sacred
sites!
Until the 1860s the Old City had represented entire
Jerusalem collectively.
But later under the initiative of the British, settlements
outside its wall began confidently.
During 1946 when Israel declared its Independence,
The ‘old city’ remained under the control of the Jordanians;
Only to be liberated during the Six Day’s War in 1967!

           OLD CITY GATES AND QUARTERS
The walls around the Old City stretch for 4.5 kilometers,
With its height varying between five to sixteen meters.
It has 43 surveillance towers and eleven gates.
However, only seven gates remain open as on date.
The current wall was built in 1538 by Sultan Suleiman
the Magnificent.
On the southern side of this wall is the Zion Gate, leading
to the Armenian Quarters overlooking Mount Zion outside;
Where lies King David’s tomb, a Holy Site.
The Dung Gate leads to the Jewish Quarters from the south;
And the way to Al-Aksa Mosque inside the Temple Mount.
The Jaffa or the Main Gate is on the west, with its famous
Citadel and the ‘Tower of David’ built by King Herod.
This gate leads to the Christian Quarters inside, while the
road goes to the port of Jaffa outside.
A New Gate was also built further up on the north-western
side,    (in1898)
For entry of the German Emperor William the Second,
through the Christian side!
The Damascus Gate in the middle of the Northern Wall
was the largest and the most heavily defended Gate.
Where excavations have revealed an old ‘Roman Gate’
beneath it.
Through this Gate had entered the Holy Crusade!
Further east on the northern wall is the ‘Herod’s Gate’,
Leading to the Muslim Quarters and the ‘Souk’, – the
Arab markets.
On the East is the Lions Gate, with carved figure of
lions on the gate’s crest;
Both for the Christian and the Jews this gate has a
special significance!
For this gate marks the walk ‘Via Dolorosa’, the path
taken by Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to
his Crucifixion Site,
Where stands the Church of Holy Sepulcher built by
the Emperor Constantine.
In 1967 the Israeli 55th Para Brigade entered through this
‘Lions Gate’, after a hand-to-hand fight with the Jordanians.
When they hoisted the Star of David on the Temple Mount  
to reclaim Jerusalem!
Jerusalem was declared as their Capital City,
Concluding a chapter of its turbulent History!

Since the time of the Crusades Jerusalem has remained
traditionally divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and
Armenian sections;
Each with its sacred Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques,
defying the City’s unification!
Yet amidst the gong of church bells, the call of Muezzin,
and recitation of the Torah,
Old Jerusalem reverberates with a unique religious
euphoria!

           SACRED MONUMENTS AND SITES
‘The Wailing Wall’ is the more popular name for that part
of Western Wall built by King Herod during 19 BC,
Around the Second Jewish Temple which he renovated,
for the world to see!
Today only 167 feet of this exposed ‘Wall’ remains,
which is 62 feet high.
As a solitary witness to that once glorious past, which
evokes a deep sighs!
It is the holiest of Jewish shrines today where they
congregate.
To pray in front of this Sacred Wall and to loudly lament,
The loss of their Great Temple which was once made!
Inside the cracks in the wall many folded papers can be
seen;
Coating their petitions to God with prayers from within!

The Temple Mount is perhaps the oldest of all shrines.
Sacred to both the Christians and the Muslims alike!
For here on a rock alter Abraham had bound his son
Isaac,
Ready to sacrifice him when the Lord put him to a test!
Here King Solomon had built the First Jewish Temple;
Which during 587 BC, was destroyed by the King of
Babylon!
The King also took the Jews into captivity lasting nearly
seventy long years;
And Psalm 137 tells us how the Jews remembering Zion
on the banks of River of Babylon, - shed their tears!
That old song by ‘Bonny M’, now rings in my ears!
This was also the site of the Second Temple destroyed
by the Romans.
Who renamed Jerusalem as ‘Aelia Capitolina’, making
the City pagan!
Al-Aqsa Mosque or ‘The Farthest Mosque’, located on the
Mount, was completed around 705 AD they say.
Has been claimed by the Muslims as the site where their
Prophet traveled ‘during the night’ from Mecca to pray;
And from where angle Gabriel accompanied him to
Heaven or ‘Jannat,’ - all the way!
So they constructed the ‘Dome of The Rock’ to mark
this ascension;
Which around 691 AD saw its completion.
The Golden Gate on the east leading to the Temple Mount,
Was sealed by the Muslims during Sixth Century following
their fears and doubts.
For the Jew’s claim their Messiah will enter through this
Golden Gate one day.
Which unnerved the Muslims whatever one may say.
So outside this sealed gate they also built a cemetery;
Let future events gradually unfold in Jerusalem’s Story!

                       CONCLUSION
Now dear readers I conclude this narration, with some
food for thought and contemplation.
‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned in the Jewish Bible 669 times,
and 154 times as ‘Zion’. (‘Land of Israel’)
In the Christian Bible it is mentioned 161 times; but not
once in the Hindu ‘Gita’, the Buddhist Scriptures, or in
the Muslim Koran;
Not forgetting the fact that God is Supreme and One!
The Koran speaks only of “The Furthest Mosque” where  
the Prophet went to pray,
From Mecca we know Holy Medina comes on the way.*
(please see notes below)
The Holy Bible is also a record of Early Civilizations ,
Supported by Archaeological finds, carbon dating, and
countless excavations.
The Jewish claim to the ‘Land of Canaan’ is more than
3000 years old;
And Israel today occupies 75% of that historic piece of
land we know and have been told!
The Old City in 1981 has been declared as UNESCO’s
Heritage Site.
Let the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ overtake all religious divide!
It is true that History has evolved from the Myths and
Legends of the past.
But it is for us to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I have done adequate research of this Ancient History.
Now I leave it to You my Readers for drawing your own conclusions after reading this true Story!
Thank you readers for reading patiently,
From Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
*** Dear Readers, I have pointed out in the concluding portion that as per all available evidence, claim of the Holy Kaaba on the Temple Mount by the Muslims is not supported by the true History of Jerusalem!
Moon Humor Apr 2015
~Many people rely on the convenient, easy ways of living in this age of fast food, plastic packaging and rapid development. Most people do not care to see why they live the way they do or what it takes to live in such a way. Toxic pollutants leaching into our earth and water should not be worth the convenience! Third world women working in dusty, cramped factories to make designer purses for fifteen year old girls. Garbage is America’s biggest export and it ends up in China, on the coast of Somalia... anywhere that American citizens won’t be bothered to see it.

~What does it mean to buy a pack of plastic razors? Some metal, some chemicals, some plastic, more plastic for packaging. Use a razor a few times and toss it in the garbage. Somewhere, maybe at La Chureca, someone will pull the rusted metal and plastic from the landfill. They might make one US dollar per day collecting scraps of aluminum, glass, plastic and other scrap metals. What does it mean to wear deodorant? The plastic stick isn’t reusable. The ingredients are highly toxic. Aluminum-based antiperspirants have been linked to Alzheimer's and cancer. Soap comes in plastic bottles, coffee makers made of plastic, water bottles made of plastic… hell, my plastic shower curtain came wrapped in plastic packaging.

~Americans are lucky. Indoor plumbing with quality water. Green lawns and exotic flower beds. Buy and use, throw away and repeat. Big corporations pay off politicians to pollute. Industrial waste, land erosion, low air quality, pesticides. Why are we so quick to trust an artificial sweetener being promoted by a company that makes poison? They call you a hippy, a conspiracy theorist. They tell you that you only live once and to stop being so worried about it all. I ask them, how can you look away? Deforestation and destruction are all around. Those that profit are not concerned with what happens to the land after the loggers and miners have left the ground scarred and desolate.

~Modern living is a hoax. Yeah, you get around quick in your car but at what cost? Carbon dioxide, greenhouse gasses choking us and everything alive that lives with us and cannot speak. Can’t you walk to the corner store? Can’t you grow a few things in the garden or in the windowsill? When was the last time you saw a sunset and didn’t take a picture of it? Dairy cows packed together so tight they can’t turn around for your glass of milk. The disconnect is everywhere. Overpopulation. Overconsumption. People don’t care.

~They can choose. They can choose paper over plastic. They can buy a water filter instead of 20 plastic bottles. They can bike to work. Anyone can lessen their impact, anyone can think more deeply and live more sustainably. But we’ve made it so easy to be lazy. We’ve become so dependent that we’re forgetting to use technological gains to make the way we do things better. We’ve come so far that we’re forgetting what brought us here.

~

‘We are slaves in the sense that we depend for our daily survival upon an expand-or-expire agro-industrial empire – a crackpot machine – that the specialists cannot comprehend and the managers cannot manage. Which is, furthermore, devouring world resources at an exponential rate.’ Edward Abbey

‘In the developing world, the problem of population is seen less as a matter of human numbers than of western overconsumption. Yet within the development community, the only solution to the problems of the developing world is to export the same unsustainable economic model fuelling the overconsumption of the West.’ Kavita Ramdas

‘Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.’ Jacques-Yves Cousteau

‘Globalisation, which attempts to amalgamate every local, regional, and national economy into a single world system, requires homogenising locally adapted forms of agriculture, replacing them with an industrial system – centrally managed, pesticide-intensive, one-crop production for export – designed to deliver a narrow range of transportable foods to the world market.’Helena Norberg-Hodge

‘Throughout history human exploitation of the earth has produced this progression: colonise-destroy-move on.’ Garrett Hardin
Quotes from: theguardian.com
RAJ NANDY Dec 2015
Dear Readers, to usher in the spirit of Christmas, I wish to
share with you the true Story of Jerusalem in Verse. Based on
Biblical chronology, and several articles about its Early History.
Though the three of our World’s greatest religions have a common
lineage, yet religious bickering and hatred continues to exist
in our present age! Let this Season of Christmas bring peace with
goodwill and love. Let us all pray together for a peaceful World!
If you like this true story, kindly recommend it to all your poet
friends to read this slice of History. Thanks, from Raj Nandy.


   STORY OF JERUSALEM - “THE PROMISED LAND”
                IN VERSE: By Raj Nandy
                  
                       INTRODUCTION
After reading my ‘Arab Contribution to Science’ and the
downfall of Islam’s Golden Age,
A friend had requested me to write about The Crusades.
Now the Mongol contribution was far greater towards
Islamic Empire’s downfall,
For though the First Crusade besieged the Holy City of
Jerusalem making it fall,
The subsequent Crusades to the Seljuk Turks lost all!
But before writing about the Nine Crusades proper,
To acquaint my readers with the historic city of
Jerusalem becomes my present endeavor.
For Jerusalem is sacred to the Jews, Christian, and the
Muslims alike,
As their holy relics and shrines are housed in that Old
City’s revered sites!
But prior to narrating the story of Old Jerusalem City,
Let me tell you briefly about its early history.
About the patriarch Abraham, whom God led to this
‘Promised Land’.
From where this true story of Jerusalem really began.

                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
The city of Jerusalem was twice razed to the ground.
Besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured and
recaptured 44 times, surprising as it all may sound!
In an era of idolatry and multiple gods, Abraham born*
in the ancient City of Ur,# believed in a single God!
(1800 BC)
So God was pleased and in a covenant with Patriarch
Abraham,
Blessed him to become the ‘Father of Many Nations’
in a distant ‘Promised Land’!
Thus Abraham with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot,
Entered the Land of Canaan as promised by God.
But when a famine ravaged the Land of Canaan,
Abraham had moved onto Egypt on his own!
Having suffered there for some ungodly acts, his
return to the Land of Canaan remains a historical fact.
Through Abraham and Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar, -
his son Ishmael was born.
From Ishmael descended the ‘Ishmaelites’, to
become the Twelve Arab Tribes later on!
Next, with the blessings of the Lord, to Abraham
and Sarah son Isaac was born.
Isaac’s son Jacob fathered the Twelve Jewish Tribes,
Who became collectively known as the ‘Israelites’.
From the ‘Tribe of Benjamin’ came King Saul, the
first King of united Israel rising tall.
From the ‘Tribe of Judah’ King David, Solomon, and
several Kings of Judah did rise;
As proud forefathers of the Messiah Jesus Christ!
Thus in Judaism both the Arabs and the Christians
find a common lineage;
Yet unfortunately bitter differences continue to
exist even in our present age!
NOTES: Canaan was the ancient name of a large & prosperous
country (at times independent, at others a territory to Egypt),
which roughly corresponds to present day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. Canaan was also known as ‘Phoenicia’ between 3200 BC & 539 BC. # Ur = an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia.


               ORIGINS OF JERUSALEM
Jerusalem has been hailed by many names,
Gets mentioned as ‘Rushalium’ in an ancient
Egyptian text!  (2000 BC)
Also as Salem, Moriah, Jebus and Zion, this capital city
of the Israelites had been known.
Jerusalem as the remnant town of Salem, is also
mentioned in the ‘Book of Joshua’ Chapter Ten.
It was earlier a Jebusite City
, which was conquered by  
King David around 1003 BC;
When David shifted his capital to Jerusalem from Hebron.
In Jerusalem he kept the Holy Ark in a sacred Tabernacle,
For which his son King Solomon had built the First Great
Temple.
This Sacred Ark contained the ‘Ten Commandments’,
Which accompanied the Israelites during their 40 years
of desert wandering with Moses, as their guidance!
But since majority of the tribes were hesitant to fight the
Canaanites for their ‘Promised Land’,
God blessed Joshua, the successor of Moses, to lead the
Tribes to their ‘Promised Land’.
NOTE: Jebusite was one of the ancient Canaanite tribes, conquered by
King David.

            TURBULENT HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Now cutting across several centuries of its dynamic
history, let me continue with Jerusalem’s Story.
The death of King Solomon (931 BC) ended Israel’s
‘Golden Age’,
And this united Kingdom of Israel was split into
Northern and Southern states.
Ten Tribes formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel
with its capital at Samaria;
While Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern
half called Judea.
In unity lies strength, and in division further dissention;
This kingdom of King David and Solomon now becomes
prey to several foreign invasions!
Jerusalem gets attacked by the Egyptians, Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, and those imperial Romans, who
had initially built but later destroyed the Second
Jewish Temple!
The cruel King Herod, Judea’s Roman Protector,
Though of unstable mind, was a great builder!
‘The Wailing Wall’ and most of the ruins visible today,
Were built by the despot Herod as Archeologists say!
King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount with a massive
retaining wall around it.
Renovated the Second Temple which finally acquired  
his name!
But in 70 AD the Roman Emperor Titus, razed this
Second Temple to the ground, as Historians inform us!
Jerusalem had some peace under the Christian Byzantine
Emperor Constantine,
Who upheld Christianity, and his mother Helena inspired
the building of many hallowed shrines;
Only to be occupied by the Seljuk Turks later, who
desecrated those shrines!
Till the First Crusade in 1099 captured Jerusalem, to
provide eighty eight years of respite.
Next in 1187 the Seljuk Turk Saladin conquered Jerusalem;
When a peace treaty with Richard ‘The Lion Heart’ allowed
the visit of its ‘Holy Shrines’ by the Christians.
The British captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks
in Nineteen hundred and seventeen;
And in 1948 the State of Israel was born, realizing
Abraham’s dream!
But surrounded by hostile enemies on all sides, Israel
had to fight continuously for its survival as a Nation;
And now I pause to pay my humble tribute to those
valiant Israelites with salutation!

                              THE OLD CITY
Nestled on the hollow of the hills of Judea this city
spreads out on a plateau 800 meters above the sea.
With its Dome shining in the sun, dominating  some five
thousand years of history!
The City stretches 0.9 square kilometers surrounded by
retaining walls between 16 to 46 feet in height.
Which includes more than 200 monuments and sacred
sites!
Until the 1860s the Old City had represented entire
Jerusalem collectively.
But later under the initiative of the British, settlements
outside its wall began confidently.
During 1946 when Israel declared its Independence,
The ‘old city’ remained under the control of the Jordanians;
Only to be liberated during the Six Day’s War in 1967!

                OLD CITY GATES AND QUARTERS
The walls around the Old City stretch for 4.5 kilometers,
With its height varying between five to sixteen meters.
It has 43 surveillance towers and eleven gates.
However, only seven gates remain open as on date.
The current wall was built in 1538 by Sultan Suleiman
the Magnificent.
On the southern side of this wall is the Zion Gate, leading
to the Armenian Quarters overlooking Mount Zion outside;
Where lies King David’s tomb, a Holy Site.
The Dung Gate leads to the Jewish Quarters from the south;
And the way to Al-Aksa Mosque inside the Temple Mount.
The Jaffa or the Main Gate is on the west, with its famous
Citadel and the ‘Tower of David’ built by King Herod.
This gate leads to the Christian Quarters inside, while the
road goes to the port of Jaffa outside.
A New Gate was also built further up on the north-western
side,    (in1898)
For entry of the German Emperor William the Second,
through the Christian side!
The Damascus Gate in the middle of the Northern Wall
was the largest and the most heavily defended Gate.
Where excavations have revealed an old ‘Roman Gate’
beneath it.
Through this Gate had entered the Holy Crusade!
Further east on the northern wall is the ‘Herod’s Gate’,
Leading to the Muslim Quarters and the ‘Souk’, – the
Arab markets.
On the East is the Lions Gate, with carved figure of
lions on the gate’s crest;
Both for the Christian and the Jews this gate has a
special significance!
For this gate marks the walk ‘Via Dolorosa’, the path
taken by Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to
his Crucifixion Site,
Where stands the Church of Holy Sepulcher built by
the Emperor Constantine.
In 1967 the Israeli 55th Para Brigade entered through this
‘Lions Gate’, after a hand-to-hand fight with the Jordanians.
When they hoisted the Star of David on the Temple Mount  
to reclaim Jerusalem!
Jerusalem was declared as their Capital City,
Concluding a chapter of its turbulent History!

Since the time of the Crusades Jerusalem has remained
traditionally divided into Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and
Armenian sections;
Each with its sacred Synagogues, Churches, and Mosques,
defying the City’s unification!
Yet amidst the gong of church bells, the call of Muezzin,
and recitation of the Torah,
Old Jerusalem reverberates with a unique religious
euphoria!

               SACRED MONUMENTS AND SITES
‘The Wailing Wall’ is the more popular name for that part
of Western Wall built by King Herod during 19 BC,
Around the Second Jewish Temple which he renovated,
for the world to see!
Today only 167 feet of this exposed ‘Wall’ remains,
which is 62 feet high.
As a solitary witness to that once glorious past, which
evokes a deep sighs!
It is the holiest of Jewish shrines today where they
congregate.
To pray in front of this Sacred Wall and to loudly lament,
The loss of their Great Temple which was once made!
Inside the cracks in the wall many folded papers can be
seen;
Coating their petitions to God with prayers from within!

The Temple Mount is perhaps the oldest of all shrines.
Sacred to both the Christians and the Muslims alike!
For here on a rock alter Abraham had bound his son
Isaac,
Ready to sacrifice him when the Lord put him to a test!
Here King Solomon had built the First Jewish Temple;
Which during 587 BC, was destroyed by the King of
Babylon!
The King also took the Jews into captivity lasting nearly
seventy long years;
And Psalm 137 tells us how the Jews remembering Zion
on the banks of River of Babylon, - shed their tears!
That old song by ‘Bonny M’, now rings in my ears!
This was also the site of the Second Temple destroyed
by the Romans.
Who renamed Jerusalem as ‘Aelia Capitolina’, making
the City pagan!
Al-Aqsa Mosque or ‘The Farthest Mosque’, located on the
Mount, was completed around 705 AD they say.
Has been claimed by the Muslims as the site where their
Prophet traveled ‘during the night’ from Mecca to pray;
And from where angle Gabriel accompanied him to
Heaven or ‘Jannat,’ - all the way!
So they constructed the ‘Dome of The Rock’ to mark
this ascension;
Which around 691 AD saw its completion.
The Golden Gate on the east leading to the Temple Mount,
Was sealed by the Muslims during Sixth Century following
their fears and doubts.
For the Jew’s claim their Messiah will enter through this
Golden Gate one day.
Which unnerved the Muslims whatever one may say.
So outside this sealed gate they also built a cemetery;
Let future events gradually unfold in Jerusalem’s Story!

                            CONCLUSION
Now dear readers I conclude this narration, with some
food for thought and contemplation.
‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned in the Jewish Bible 669 times,
and 154 times as ‘Zion’. (‘Land of Israel’)
In the Christian Bible it is mentioned 161 times; but not
once in the Hindu ‘Gita’, the Buddhist Scriptures, or in
the Koran;
Not forgetting the fact that God is Supreme and One!
The Koran speaks only of “The Furthest Mosque” where  
the Prophet went to pray,
From Mecca we know Holy Medina comes on the way.
The Holy Bible is also a record of Early Civilizations ,
Supported by Archaeological finds, carbon dating, and
countless excavations.
The Jewish claim to the ‘Land of Canaan’ is more than
3000 years old;
And Israel today occupies 75% of that historic piece of
land we know and have been told!
The Old City in 1981 has been declared as UNESCO’s
Heritage Site.
Let the ‘Spirit of Humanity’ overtake all religious divide!
It is true that History has evolved from the Myths and
Legends of the past.
But it is for us to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I have done adequate research of this Ancient History.
Now I leave it to you for drawing your own conclusions
after reading this true Story!
Thank you readers for reading patiently,
From Raj Nandy of New Delhi .
ALL COPY RIGHTS  ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
Coleen Mzarriz Aug 2020
I.

She was there
wearing her favorite sweater
while she was hoping
to get her life —
beaten like a raw egg
then I made this song,
about Helena.

II.

“So long and goodnight,
So long and goodnight.”
I hummed,
gently touching her cold face
when the chrysanthemums
she holds
brought me back to her
and the rain pours.
Her unkempt hair —
her cold swollen hands
her eyes as dead
as the digging hearse
rushes
unto her,
I made this song.

III.

“When the star falls,
I'll be holding on tonight
if I stay, would it make a difference?
Well, carry on don't sleep
hear me and stay.”
I strum in the strings of
yarns weaving
the ropes of life
attached — while she dances
barefoot and reckless.
'Til I come running
and her faint breath, gone.

IV.

This is the last verse of the song.
When slowly the sun
yet to rise again,
piercing through
her damp soul,
I sang the last piece
and wore a vintage smile,
after her last fainting breath —
she heard the song.
Helena sold the pieces of her soul.
I've always been fascinated by the name, Helena. I wrote about her twice. You can check out my short story, "The Aroma of Her Crimson's Blood" here.

P.S Listen to Helena by My Chemical Romance

— The End —