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May 16, 2002
Poems of Intifada

From Israel Shamir


Dear friends, Intifada caused many beautiful poems to be born. They surely deserve to be collected and published. Here are three poems by three poets. One, witty and delightful, by Sonja de Vries, whom I do not know personally but who deserves to be known, published and admired. Another one, by Vincent White, an American poet on the banks of the Gulf, a friend of Palestine, and a man of principles. Third, by an Irish poet Jocelyn Braddell, the editor of an Internet magazine the Handstand.

Israel Shamir

The Palestinian Gunman
by Sonja de Vries

Israelis military reported 50 Palestinian gunmen
were killed today in Nablus.

They added that there were still
200 Palestinian gunmen
hiding in the Churdh of the Nativity in Bethlehem
and thousands more in Jenin

A little known fact about Palestinian gunmen
is that they are shape shifters :
each moment they can appear in a different form:

as a mother holding her grown son,
a man ringing the bell of a church at noon

a young boy wrapped in the arms of his father
or as children on their way to school

Just the other day a gunman appeared as a Priest
and several more shape shifted into ambulance drivers
and redcross workers

One of them even managed to appear as an Italian Journalist

Amazing, these Palestinian gunmen - they can masquerade
as entire olive grove's, the branches of the trees
blossom into kalishnikov's and ouzi's

Groups of gunmen can appear
as refugee camps,
mosques and churches,
arms spread to blend with the cross,
a shoulder blade becomes the dome of a mosque

But the Israelis are not fooled,
they can see the Palestinian gunman's face
breaking through
the roots of a sage bush ripped from the earth

the Palestinian gunman
can only be seen by Israeli soldiers
and killed with American bullets

April, 2002, Sonja de Vries

No Name
by Jocelyn Braddell

Have you a house cellar
Where these people hide?
A man paces up and down,
Children crouch
Where the walls are words.
Women shift the skirts
Bunching on hunger and air
Clogs the mouth of song.
A few syllables
Sporadic as sleep'
A blanket caught on
An indescribable wound.
For you...
Up and down the pace
As nothing sets you free
From a house with a cellar

In my name
by Vincent White

suffering sore images of the profane,
a little desperate, i close my eyes, wondering
which feckless authority in heaven or hell
grants absolution to voyeurs these days?

i subscribe to a one-sided narrative to be sure,
but in that injustice festers my conscience.
i am humiliated, impotent, immobile,
trapped in the throng at the side of the street.

the brutal procession to calvary passes.
vision clouds with bitter tears as i stare
stunned and incredulous at the easter parade.
hosanna! moan the bloody stones underfoot.

it was in my name that pontius dubya pilate
washed his hands and disclaimed responsibility,
in my name the butcher crucifies the damned.
i protest feebly. i do nothing. i bow my head.

(watching digital images from palestine, easter 2002)
Vincent White

The conflict in the Holy Land can only be resolved by the warring
Children of Abraham accepting the justice of a true democracy.
The Mandela Solution.
No apartheid, Yes JUSTICE!
No partition, Yes DEMOCRACY!

Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer and journalist. He lives in Jaffa. His other articles are available on the site www.israelshamir.net

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