The Jerusalem Post
 

The Eisenman Line

Decrease text sizeDecrease text size
Increase text sizeIncrease text size
Six-Day War Poems (Continued) - The Tiran Crisis
 
This is the continuation of the poems I promised in my piece two weeks ago: "Words written after the UN Security Council Debate, May 24th, 1967 (a reminder)" (http://blogs.jpost.com/content/words-written-after-un-security-council-debate-may-24th-1967-reminder), beginning April 14th,1967 with "The Tiran Crisis" and ending with the one dedicated to Orde Wingate on June 6th, 1967, the day after the ourtbreak of the War (which I also published on "The Eisenman Line" about two years ago in the Third Part of my "Did the British Kill Orde Wingate" - http://blogs.jpost.com/content/orde-wingate-bibliography-and-poem).
 
I reproduce these next few poems from April 14th-June 6th, 1967 exactly as I wrote them then 45  years ago (no changes - no emendations). As the reader may recall, I also promised a Third and Concluding Part, which I hope and trust will be the climax, because it is some 20 stanzas long and could be entitled "Six Day War Triumph Poems", but I rather called it: "The New Passover - Horse and Rider has the Lord Overthrown in the Desert (A New Song of Miriam), June 7th-11th, 1967."
 
Please wait for that one, "Part III -The Conclusion", because I hope and promise you will not be disappointed as I still am not disappointed today; but in the meantime I hope you will enjoy the following (they are all, also, to be found in in my collection of "Anti-Beat Travel Poetry": The New Jerusalem: A Millennium Prophetic/Poetic Travel Diario, 1959-62, with An Afterword on The Six-Day War, April-June, 1967, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, Ca, 2007, pp. 455-472):
 
 
                            April 14th, 1967 — The Tiran Crisis
 
                            I saw two children playing today
                            And one was making the other’s
                                     passage impossible —
                            Challenging him, confronting him,
                            Barring him, and then running after
                                     him.
 
 
                            Is this not then the plight of the Jew
                                     throughout the centuries —
                            Everyone running after him,
                            Challenging him, confronting him,
                            And then running after him again?
 
 
 
 
                            May 26th, 1967:
 
                            The forces of the world are roaring down the tracks
                                     like railroad trains.
                            There is no escaping them; they are tearing down
                                     their respective lines.
                            They are massing out of the East, the other side of
                                     the world —
                            And where do you stand America? You stand
                                     nowhere.
 
 
 
                            It is not a question of rights of passage or the Straits
                                     of Tiran or of this or that ploy.
                            The question is whether you are going to stop them
                            Or whether you are not going to stop them —
                            And they are all together in this — make no mistake
                                     about that
                            Or allow yourselves to be deceived; for, in time,
                            They will all be coming to eradicate your world —
                            To be sure, there is nothing so marvelous about
                                     your world,
                            Nothing that should cause one to wish to save it,
                            But the problems that exist in it are all internal and
                                     soluble,
                            If the proper attention were paid to them — which it is
                                     not.
 
 
 
                            But the problems they are bringing in their wake are
                                     insoluble
                            And will mean the end of Western Civilization as
                                     you know it
                            And a return to the blood-chilling and barbaric
                                     cruelty of the past,
                            Where all modern conveniences — all jet planes,
                                     ocean-going transport,
                            And new means of computation and
                                     communication —
                            Will simply be tools at their disposal (or yours),
                            Instruments behind which lies the face of man itself,
                            To use as they (or you) choose or see fit.
 
 
 
                            This is the problem in the world today
                            And this is the reason why all these forces are
                                     completely out of control —
                            And, in such a world, this is also why, America,
                            In the end, you will have to face them
                            Or be swept away like all the rest — your
                                     predecessors.
 
 
 
 
 
                            To America — May 26th, 1967:
 
                            And do you think you are in any different position
                                     than Israel?
                            Do you think that after they do away with Israel,
                            They will not be in a position to do the same to you?
                            Don’t you think that one day you will be in the same
                                     position as she?
 
 
 
                            Do you think that after they are done with her, they
                                     will not, then, turn to you?
                            And that you, too, will then be surrounded by the
                                     masses of the Peoples of the Earth —
                            From Russia, China, the Arab World, Africa —
                            And don’t you think one day they will cut off your oil,
                            Anyhow, when they see how easily it can be done?
 
 
 
                            And who do you think will come to rescue you then?
                            Do you not think that you, too, will then be alone —
                            And who will come to your aid and stand by your
                                    side?
                            Therefore, I say unto you, stand by her now and help
                                    her
                            For she is but a miniature embodiment of you —
                            Alone in an uncharted and unfriendly sea —
                            If ever you wish to avoid the same circumstance
                                   yourself.
 
 
 
 
 
                            June 5th, 1967 — On the Israeli Invasion: The
                                                 Outbreak of the War
 
 
                            Fight, you bastards, fight like Hell,
                            For we are avenging the wrong done us
                            Twenty centuries ago at the hands of the Romans —
                            For without that wrong, there would have been no
                                     such thing as “Christianity,”
                            There would have been no “Islam” —
                            Nor would there ever have been such a thing as “the
                                     Arab Empire.”
 
 
 
                            Fight, you bastards, fight like Hell,
                            For we are making a new beginning —
                            We are doing the impossible and showing the world it
                                     can be done —
                            Just twenty years after coming out of the
                                     Concentration Camps —
                            And now, turning back the hands of time.
 
 
 
 
                            Fight, you bastards, fight like Hell,
                            For you are avenging your brothers and the defeat
                            They suffered at the hands of the Roman Empire —
                            A defeat that never should have been,
                            A defeat they suffered only because the other was
                                     too strong;
                            And you are avenging the gas chambers —
                            The final effect of that defeat Twenty Centuries later.
 
 
 
 
                            Fight, you bastards, fight like Hell,
                            For we are sorry it has to be at the expense of our
                                     Arab Brethren,
                            But they are so inflamed by their own excitability,
                            Childishly indulged by the Western Powers into
                                     thinking themselves indispensable —
                            So intoxicated by the thought of their own
                                     importance,
                            So infatuated by the idea of their own
                                     magnificence —
                            Which never would have been except for our
                                     expulsion
                            And the total inability of the West to deal with the
                                     Middle East.
 
 
 
                            Whoever heard of a “World of Harb” and a “World of
                                     Islam” —
                            Whoever heard of land once conquered that could
                                     never be relinquished?
                            This is not a religious norm, this is not a rational
                                      imperative,
                            This is but a conceit, a pride — this is Hubris.
 
 
 
 
                            So fight, my brothers, fight like Hell,
                            For Israel must put his wild brother Esau under
                                       control.
                            This is the prophecy —
                            “Israel must put his unruly Brother under control.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
                            To Orde Wingate — June 6th, 1967
 
 
                            Orde Wingate, this is your day —
                            It is you who foresaw what we could become,
                            It is you who foresaw the tremendous fighting
                                     strength latent in a Jewish Army;
                            And it is you who wished to lead us before your life
                                     was cut short.
                            But never fear, you are with us, you are leading us;
                            And perhaps it is better this way —
                            May God forgive me for having uttered those
                                      words —
                            Through the brave fighting men you prepared,
                            Through the men you trained, even at our Command.
                            Thank you, Orde Wingate, for we owe a great debt
                                       to you.
 
 
 
 
Average: 5 (12 votes)