Three Poems

These are three poems that were written recently, the last of which is is somewhat inspired by the recent events in the Gaza strip. The title of that poem, Sh’ma Yisrael, is taken from the scripture where the word invokes, “Hear, Oh Israel, …”. In this case it is my hope that they might just hear the voices of the people around the world calling their murderous actions and attempts at genocide something entirely unacceptable.

Please, enjoy the poems.

Earthly Dreams

Beneath the stars the earth reveals itself
a celestial jewel afloat in unending tranquillity
but this veneer of peace is easily shattered
as one approaches the jewel with many
of its inhabitants firmly entrenched
in a battle for survival
oblivious to the beauty around them
for it does nothing to fill their bellies
or ease their pain during the long nights.

Long nights filled only with the solace
provided by the distant stars
mute points of light that hold the promise of
so many unrealized dreams.
To soar amongst these stars
to be freed from the constraints of this
earthly prison and commune with the
Light of the heavens – rising above all cares
but the dreams are short lived for most
as the realities of this life
the brutalities of this life
pull them back
ripping them from the serenity of orbit
thrusting them back into the cruel reality
of life on earth.

The only ones capable of evading the clutches
of this cruel reality
rely upon their strength of will alone
to deny victory to the encroaching madness that comes
when all dreams are lost.

With visions preserved these select few
look to the stars
they look to the heavens
seeing something more than
distant points of light in an
unending expanse of shadow, of darkness;
they see instead their own futures
their past and their ultimate destiny:
from the cosmic dust it all began
coalescing into the swirling nebulae that
gave birth to the singular jewel upon which
all life runs its course.

Until they ultimately return to the dust
from whence they came.

Copyright © 2009 by Peter Amsel (aufzuleiden)

… of speech

They come in the dark night, or brazenly, during the day:
looking for anything that
piques their interest — “why are they there”,
you ask — but are told, in no uncertain terms, that this …
this is not your concern:
They have been “authorized” to search …
they have been empowered by the law;
empowered to violate
to trample upon
stamp on
shred and burn
your rights
no consolation for you as you are hauled away,
still questioning, “what are the charges”,
“what evidence have you found” …
“can I call a lawyer?” ….

Warrants have been signed by judges doing favours for
prosecutors, none wanting to be the one to
let some evil “terrorist threat” run free.
There won’t be a 9/11 redux on their watch
even if some innocent lives
must be ruined
destroyed in the process
all for the “greater good”.

Their quest for evidence leaves no stone unturned
as they reach back into the distant past of
your life — family and friends interviewed
while you sit, alone and afraid
surrounded by cinderblocks and iron-bars
a thin mattress and blanket your only means of comfort
as you await your destiny
half-believing that “justice” will remove its
blindfold and see that you are innocent
that this is all a mistake — a nightmare from which
you will awaken when the cleansing
light of day burns away the shadows of deceit.

But the rising of the sun does not bring your freedom
nor does it restore your faith in the “justice” system:
evidence was found during the search,
you are told …
things you wrote:
things you posted on the Internet
comments on different blogs and forums
discussions about politics and
war crimes.
Comments about a presidency more concerned
with image than with serving the people
or protecting the Constitution.

Without another word, a phone call or a lawyer you
find yourself labelled an “enemy of the state”,
a “person of interest”, and a possible
stripped of your rights,
your birth rights.

You are sent to where you will await the trial
that may never come
one prisoner amongst many in a place
far removed from America’s heartland
the antithesis of justice and freedom,
promised to be dismantled one day soon.
Until then you remain a prisoner
in Gitmo …
but January 20th is coming!

Copyright © 2009 by Peter Amsel (aufzuleiden)

Sh’ma Yisrael

The eyes of the of the world watch you intently
as your tanks array themselves
with their magazines fully stocked
loaded with the finest made munitions
artillery shells destined to
slice through the bodies of old women and
of mothers and daughters
of fathers and sons
of corpses, their eyes still open
their hearts still beating in the desperate
struggle that never ends …
the struggle known by many names,
in many languages
but united by a common spirit:
overcome the oppressors,
overthrow the Pharaohs,
free the slaves, …
Let my people go!

Who are “my” people; “my” brother,
that I may keep them?

When we watch, as one might watch
the latest blockbuster from Hollywood,
seeing bunker-busting bombs
shredding human flesh in
high-definition colour
as you kill with such relish
some questions are inevitable
(aside from the obsession we have for
watching such horrors … and managing to remain silent):
why can’t you find a way to
live together in peace?

If the world is honest than it knows that
both sides are guilty;
judgement is lacking as
stones met with bullets and bombs
have led to rockets that cannot be aimed
met with tanks and precision guided munitions
dropped from the talons of the fighting falcons.

The world watches, united in shock and outrage
but in New York
in the chamber where the “Security Council”
discusses such heady matters as ethnic cleansing
genocide and plain old wars
nothing is decided.

They cannot agree to condemn the violence,
they cannot bring themselves to demand
that you stop murdering innocent children
in the name of “security”.

Pity the nation that cannot exist without a small
episode of genocide every now and then …
we all have them … had them …
why should you, Oh Israel,
be any different? you ask,
why indeed?

Perhaps it is not about fitting in with the
rest of the world that should be of concern –
perhaps you should be more concerned with the
blood staining your garments
blood that will not wash away
or be hidden in the glaring light of the cameras
aiming their dispassionate eyes at you from
around the world
blood that leaves stains on top of stains
from generations of insanity
generations of people unwilling to live
side by side
instead, they fight …
the blood flows
and the eyes of the world
continue to watch.

Copyright © 2009 by Peter Amsel (aufzuleiden)

Dedicated to the innocent victims of the ongoing war insanity: the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Until both sides realize that they can not win anything with violence the only thing that will continue to grow in that pitiful land is the body count as more children are added to the death-toll. Lay down your weapons and return to your families; create things with your hands, things of wonder and beauty, not of death and destruction. Peace begins in the heart.

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6 Responses to “Three Poems”

  1. Ben Heine Says:

    Really nice poems, Peter

  2. irish4palestine Says:

    Keep writing I enjoyed all your poems, you are lucky to have such a gift!!

  3. babystrangeloop Says:

    These poems are horrible and that’s why people should read them.

  4. babystrangeloop Says:

    I was searching blogs for mentions of petroleum based ceremonial candles after I had posted this

    I found your entry here

    But I was protesting Shell and Chevron decimating Nigeria.

    My world grew a bit to see that you were also concerned along the same lines. Thanks for broadening my horizons.

  5. aufzuleiden Says:

    While all comments are appreciated, it is generally acknowledged that constructive criticism is something that has more value than simply bashing something. Saying that something is horrible, and ‘that’s why people should read them’ is, quite frankly, a fairly useless comment – in what way have you helped me improve as a writer? None. In what way have you provided information to help me improve my craft in general? Nothing at all. You have only provided one, challenged opinion. I say challenged for the simple reason that you do not even recognize the hypocrisy in your own poorly constructed offerings found on your own website.

    It is easy to throw stones, but when you dwell in a house of glass you should watch out for rebounds.

    Wie viel ist Aufzuleiden!

  6. babystrangeloop Says:


    I can’t decide to respond. Please select one or more of the following:

    A) I wasn’t critiquing you work. I was expressing my feelings after having read them. You presented your work to the world and some of us in the world presented their feelings back to you. I wasn’t even commenting on you as a person, I was commenting on your work. Thank you for reminding me that people view their work as part of their identity.

    B) You might wish to contemplate the paradoxical, contradictory two-sided nature of my statement rather than only seeing one, the “negative” side.

    C) You write about situations that are painful to mention yet you expect feedback to be cheerful and positive? Me I feel pain which parallels yours in the sense that I carry around thoughts and impressions of the world which I live in which are quite damning yet I have recently started to work on developing Metta/Maitri/LovingKindness. This puts me in a state of confusion where I find my integrity is compromised. On one hand there are great injustices in the world and on the other it hurts people’s feeling to even mention them. It seems to be impossible to abandon crusading for righteous causes since the silence would be a form of contributing to the inequity yet to mention them is to disturb the peace of mind of others which is also unjust.

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