In ancient days and deserts wild
There rose a feud — still unsubdued —
Twixt Sarah’s son and Hagar’s child
That centred round Jerusalem
While underneath the timeless boughs
Of Mamre’s oak ‘mid stranger-folk
The Patriarch slumbered and his spouse
Nor dreamed about Jerusalem.
But Ishmael lived where he was born,
And pastured there in tents of hair
Among the Camel and the Thorn —
Beersheba, South Jerusalem
But Israel sought employ and food
At Pharaoh’s knees, till Rameses
Dismissed his plaguey multitude,
With curses, toward Jerusalem.
Across the wilderness they came
And launched their horde o’er Jordan’s ford,
And blazed the road by sack and flame
To Jebusite Jerusalem.
Then Kings and Judges ruled the land,
And did not well by Israel,
Till Babylonia took a hand
And drove them from Jerusalem.
And Cyrus sent them back anew,
To carry on as they had done,
Till angry Titus overthrew
The fabric of Jerusalem.
Then they were scattered North and West,
While each Crusade more certain made
That Hagar’s vengeful son possessed
Where Ishmael held his desert state
And framed a creed to serve his need —
“Allah-hu-Akbar! God is Great!”
He preached it in Jerusalem.
And every realm they wandered through
Rose, far or near, in hate and fear,
And robbed and tortured, chased and slew,
The outcasts of Jerusalem.
So ran their doom — half seer, half slave —
And ages passed, and at the last
They stood beside each tyrant’s grave,
And whispered of Jerusalem.
We do not know what God attends
The Unloved Race in every place
Where they amass their dividends
From Riga to Jerusalem.
But all the course of Time makes clear
To everyone (except the Hun)
It does not pay to interfere
With Cohen from Jerusalem.
For ‘neath the Rabbi’s curls and fur
(Or scents and rings of movie-kings)
The aloof, unleavened blood of Ur,
Broods steadfast on Jerusalem.
Where Ishmael bides in his own place —
A robber bold, as was foretold,
To stand before his brother’s face —
The wolf without Jerusalem.
And burdened Gentile o’er the main,
Must bear the weight of Israel’s hate
Because he is not brought again
In triumph to Jerusalem.
Yet he who bred the unending strife,
And was not brave enough to save
The Bondsmaid from the furious wife,
He wrought thy woe, Jerusalem.