And the interrogation will not die
And there is nothing underneath the sky
There is no covenant between your God and me.
And each man wears his suffering like a skin.
This is the cistern where all wars begin,
This is the man who won't believe you're what you are.
The Brook of Kidron flows from Mea She'arim.
I'll stone you. I shall break your every limb.
But maybe I should fear the things you make me do.
The Emperor Hadrian's temple to a love
Jerusalem itself is on the move.
And as it makes its way it also makes its will.
The pious Christians burned the Jews alive.
We're waiting for reinforcements to arrive.
Would it be safe today to go to Bethlehem?
I'm an Armenian. I am a Copt.
This hole is where the flying carpet dropped
And from here one hour later he resumed his flight.
Where was your uncle's mother's sister born?
I am a worm. I am a thing of scorn.
And see my degradation in the eyes I meet.
The broken graves look to the Temple Mount.
Shall I be first in that great body count?
When, tell me, when shall the Last Things begin?
This is your banishment. This land is mine.
This is the sour dough, this the sweet wine.
And this unhappy man threw acid in my face.
These are the warrior archaeologists.
These are the dying men with tattooed wrists.
I have destroyed your home. You have destroyed my home.
From New Selected Poems (Penguin, 2006), copyright ? James Fenton 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.