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Sunday, November 19, 2023


by Greg Friedman

William Blake, The Emanation of The Giant Albion, Object 41 detail from “Jerusalem” 1804 to 1820

From the south I hear their cries: 







They call from the tunnels, 

the dead unburied 

from beneath the ruined hospital 

    where mothers search  

    in the dust for the lost. 

From the north I witness the terror, 

from the south I suffer the terror, 

with my sons I bear the terror, 

with my daughters I carry the terror, 

the whistle of the anonymous messengers, 

raining their sentence of vengeance: 

alarm across the city, 

dread beyond the border, 

anger unchecked by reason, 

retribution fueling the advance, 

memories etched in blood staining 

my land gifted, 

inheritance claimed, 

my land usurped, 

inheritance ignored— 

my land where only the stones now cry 

to me its mother.  

I hear them from captivity,  

I hear them from subjugation, 

I hear them from internment, 

I hear them  

from Nasser Hospital, 

from Kibbutz Nir Oz, 

from Deir al-Balah, 

from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, 

from the shrines sacred to my children, 

from mountain, mosque, temple, basilica, 

from the holy rock, 

from Herod’s enduring walls, 

from the ancient sepulcher, 

from the sudden sepulchers of rubble, 

from the entombing walls of Gaza City. 


I hear them all 

from mountain, mosque, temple, basilica, 

ancient in my mourning, 

young in my anguish, 

vigilant for their outcry, 

I wait for the silence, 

I despair for the peace, 

I remember and watch and listen. 

Greg Friedman is a Franciscan Friar who travels frequently to the Middle East, leading pilgrims. He has been a magazine editor, radio host and pastor.