Palestine, An Unfinished History – A Poem

Some 6,500 Palestinians are detained by Israel. (Photo: File)

By George Polley

They came from Europe,
these people, single and in
families, eager to settle.

They said they were returning
home, though we had never
seen them, were here

for generations stretching back
for a thousand years
or more. Then, along

about 1917 – a British Lord
named Balfour said our land
was theirs without asking if

we minded. And so they came,
saying our land was empty,
was full of sand and little

else. Failing to see our ancient
olive groves, our cities, our
libraries and our learning,

they took everything
they wanted, killed our people
and destroyed our villages,

setting a million people
fleeing for their lives, then
denied us the right to remember

the event. They call their
attackers the most moral army
in the world. But we remember

the grandmother sitting on her
veranda embroidering a gift for
her granddaughter, when a

sniper sent a bullet through
her head. We remember the
schoolchildren obliterated

by a bomb dropped by this
very moral airforce, and all
the other bombs

too numerous to count.
When will it end? Have we to
weep a tide of bitterness

until all our memories
of joy are erased and replaced
with sadness?

What is wrong with
people that they mistreat
others with demonic fury

and contempt, yet continue
to proclaim their innocence
and see themselves as the victims?

– George Polley is a novelist and a poet. He is the  author of The Old Man and The Monkey, Grandfather and The Raven, Bear, and, most recently “The City Has Many Faces“. He contributed this poem to Visit his blog

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