Night Thoughts East

 Jerusalem, 1988

Gunnery practise dubs the Judean hills.
Anna Ticho stopped painting for many years.
Her eyes a still small voice, eroded
canvas-lines and clumps. They scour and score
drought. Horeb. Stony tulips in March,
wild impossible eyries. Vultures above.

We walk miles to see Ain Ovdat’s shy
ibexes, or black iris miracle
inching from spring and rock. Like trees
and houses on a first visit nineteen-fifty-two.
My cousin said: this was built last year
this planted a month ago. A dreamer
was I, mouth full of hope and laughter.

Once again amid the rejoicing I am a mourner,
Ben-Gurion’s diary notes, the eve of Independence.
I lift my eyes to the cliffs at Sde Boker.
The Herut convention goes mad, Sharon, Sharon,
Melech Yisrael!