Spring is a foreign country in Palestine

spring is a foreign country in Palestine
grieving women go mad for the longing
of blossoms
their throats stopped with stones
they scream
in unuttered laments
cries that stick and
lie heavy
on crumbled walls
some women keen without cease
like sand abrades membranes
screams spew out the raw edges
of pain
each agony, each wound,
rends their loss
their children
shriven in xeric desolation

full olive trees
once were saplings nurtured
and loved as family
the fruit of the future
the slow dense twisted mystery
of the bitter plum
of golden oil.
the women lean into the rubble
that metastases where once
were homes filled with children’s play
and now sons,
even daughters,
will not stay

they grieve for villages, houses
grew like sisters beside olive trees
that disappear in maws of steel
that bring   hate to life
as real life vanishes
the women watch the ravens
pick through the rubble
global scavengers feast on
misery and destruction

200,000 hectares of olive trees
die in agony         limbs fractured
or they disappear whole
stolen for victor’s profit
victims of war
whose crime is life
and criminals are those who
seek a homeland where
spring should come
with new growth
and the dove returns
only when the branch of peace
but now women stare into a
bleached and empty sky, doubting life
in a landscape where
seasons, land, family
are all foreign countries

in their madness
they build again
kneel in the dust of the past
women dig and plant once more
with work cracked hands
frail seedlings, saplings,
food for the future seasons
and lie with their men
and say: is it madness
to hope
to see
a time when
our seeds live
to multiply
and our homes and orchards
resound with
the call of doves?

it is not madness
but       abundance of life
the force that no army
no machine can vanquish
it is abundance of promise fulfilled
they will see, and
so will doubting youth
when spring brings them home
to see the carefree play of children
to see proud men again
take up their hoes
and peace comes
like a downy feather on the breeze
unnoticed until it lights on
a sleeping infant’s cheek
when all live in repatriated spring
in green and song scented lands.

TW Jan/03

Theresa Wolfwood, Victoria, BC, CANADA