Tuesday, 16 January 2018

SomeOne is Watching

by Helen Bar-Lev


A world newly created
in a little garden called Eden
tomatoes, zucchini, parsley can be seen
trees of fruit, of life, of knowledge
all give shade even on the hottest of days
animals are cuddled up peacefully,
the lamb with the lion, the snake and the rat,
the dog and the cat,
a human appears, then another,
similar but different
then they have children, and look:
someOne who has invented
this innovative experiment
has been observing, taking notes,
making adjustments here and there,
drawing up plans for improvement
when one of the children murders the other –
Interesting, thinks the someOne who created them
as He eats a date, sips some wine made from local grapes,
decides not to get involved so does nothing
First mistake

It’s 68 A.D.
they’re selling popcorn at the Coliseum
marching Christians in,
all have been tortured before, of course
lions descend,
they’ve all been starved before, of course
no need to continue the scenario
but look at the spectators sitting in the stadium,
eating popcorn with dates and cheese, and look:
someOne is sitting there
popping grapes into His mouth –
and no, it’s not Bacchus –

It’s the year 1,410
the guys are at it again
gallant, galloping
burning with the lust of conquest
with the pleasure of slaughter
the rape of daughters
all over Europe the inquisition is in full swing
and on the highest hilltop in Jerusalem,
drinking goat’s milk, eating figs, and look:
someOne is watching them
with a telescope, a new invention –
but it’s not Galileo –
great spot He’s got, a view of the heavens
so He can see what His angels are up to
and also of the action on the blood-stained ground
we didn’t say He approves
but He’s not critical either
let’s say He’s nonchalant

It’s a thousand years later, give or take,
they’re selling popcorn
at the movie theatres
books at the schools
steaks in the restaurants
pizza in Rome, falafel in Jerusalem
olives in Baghdad, tickets to concerts in Paris
they’re gassing, bombing, beheading,
slaughtering, kidnapping, torturing
a cinerama of humanity
too enormous to view from just one vantage point,
so that someOne we’ve glimpsed before
is watching now from the clouds,
sipping pineapple juice,
maybe latte if it’s a cold day,
and no, it’s not an astronaut,
yawning, tsk tsk, boys will be boys,
kill, rape, conquer, destroy
this is the planet of free choice


* * * * *

© 7.2016 Helen Bar-Lev


Helen Bar-Lev was born in New York in 1942. www.helenbarlev.com  She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, has lived in Israel for 46 years and has had over 90 exhibitions of her landscape paintings, 34 of which were one-woman shows. Her poems and artwork have appeared in numerous online and print anthologies. Six poetry collections, all illustrated by Helen. She is the Amy Kitchener senior poet laureate. Helen was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013 and is the recipient of the Homer European Medal for Poetry and Art. Helen is Assistant to the President of Voices Israel. She lives in Metulla, Israel.