The Jolly Joker of Jerusalem

 by Thomas Ország-Land (December 2011)

First things first when
the holy books burst
and lime pits are planned
in this thirsty, troubled
land of passion
and beauty and flavour,
and the mind is mined
for the Cruising craze
and the neighbours pray
and bray and fast
for the festival roast...
as, cool as a fool,
I scribble this treble rhyme
while I’m able.
My first duty
to myself and my host
at this generous table
is to test and taste
and toast and savour
and rejoice in my time,
in the feast of this day
that I might have missed,
even if I was
born to burn
at the end of this line...
like a star, like the joker,
in history's
final, feeble fable.
THOMAS ORSZÁG-LAND is a poet and award-winning foreign correspondent.

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