A Stroll through Jerusalem
Your shadow is hiding behind the couch,
As meanwhile you proudly strut and slouch,
And the wall of stones stands before your eyes
And the streets blow dust, and in grand disguise
Souls are jostling in the grocery stores
Buying nuts and harps and tiles for the floors.
And your own personal plum on your personal plate
Is the most interesting plum that I ever ate,
I’ll put out a CD where I’ll definitely state
That the path of that plum, through the orchard and gate,
Through the air and the barn and the stones of the street
Where the dust and the birds and the soldiers meet
Is a saga, a drama, a tale bittersweet–
And I find that each story teller is photogenic,
And each story I hear slightly hallucinogenic,
And the questions we ask so Platonic, Socratic
And my heart starts to shiver, awaiting the ecstatic
Take-off to where? My shoes on the dusty
Stones are still scuffed and my ears are still musty,
And the streets are flowing with all sorts of souls,
Some eating bananas, some wrapped in fur stoles,
Some rattling silver inside empty bowls,
Some digging for coins, some avoiding the holes,
Is your story mine? Is my story yours?
There’s a secret engagement behind secret doors
Where a hundred enthusiasts sway and splurge
In a song of delight that sounds like a dirge
And I want to stay and I’ve got the urge
To stand at the corner and watch traffic merge.
It’s real above and it’s real below
But somehow in the middle we rarely know.
Those who have questions preach solutions,
Addled philosophers, former Confucians,
Gurus who now perform sacred ablutions,
And pilgrims who wash off the latest pollutions
And mothers who keen for their sons who don’t marry,
And Chaim with long peyos who once was called Harry,
And bottles of oil and bottles of wine
And ten stars in heaven (ten, not eleven, ten, not nine)
Oh what a ferment, oh what a clamor,
You barely can keep in control of your grammar.
Where fresh fish are sold, who needs a sign?
Where light’s the hor d’oeuvre on which acolytes dine
And the service is slow and the view is divine.
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Yaacov David Shulman