Gaza City’s Tuffa neighborhood, hit by IDF bombardment, July 2014. Photo from New Statesman
Tears quenched in the firebombed ghetto,
Evaporating on the singed cheekbone of a skeletal coastline.
Cries from the fledgling nest,
The hawk swooping down with outstretched talon.
Again and again, the angel of death1 passes over their home,
The lamb’s blood2 nowhere to be found.
Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai eloheinu3 –
Hear, oh Gaza,
The Lord our God,
The Lord is One.
1 Angel of death: a reference to the tenth plague that God inflicted on the Egyptians, when he sent the angel of death to kill their firstborn sons. See Jewish festival of Passover – ten plagues.
2 Lamb’s blood: a reference to the smearing of lamb’s blood on the doorposts of the Israelite houses in Egypt. In this way the angel of death would know to ‘pass over’ their houses and refrain from killing the firstborn of the Israelites.
3 “Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai eloheinu”: the first part of a well-known Jewish prayer, considered by many to be the most important prayer in Judaism. The English translation of the entire Sh’ma reads: “Hear, oh Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”
To view more poems and musings by Bhikkhu Moneyya, klick here to go to a PDF of my book “The Moneyya Chronicles.” You can also buy my book at https://www.amazon.com/Moneyya-Chronicles-Selected-Poems-Musings/dp/1732287716