Khuloud Khayyat Dajani
Ali Abu Shahla
Vol.8 No.1 2001 / Jerusalem
CultureA City of Stone
- A prose poem from his book Jerusalem in the Heart
by Ali Qleibo
Jerusalem has and continues to be
the center of strife.
The stones of Jerusalem’s edifices
have been carved of history.
Palestine represents a point of intersection wherein
numerous civilizations flourished.
The rise and fall of these civilizations
have left infinite traces.
Their remains were used as elements,
absorbed and assimilated,
in the cultural ethos of the nations that followed.
The façades of the houses,
palaces, theological colleges, mosques,
churches, temples, zigzagging streets and alleys
are silent witnesses
to the different intellectual,
religious and spiritual contributions of
the Jebusites, Canaanites, Hebrews, Arameans,
Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads,
Fatimides, Crusaders, Ayyubides,
Mamlukes and Ottomans
who have superseded each other.
I wake up every morning and see
the remains of an ancient civilization…
seven meters and a half above my pillow,
is cracked and humid.
I look at the damp spots
where the paint is peeling,
and onto other areas
where the plaster has fallen off.
In the sunlight,
a few dust particles glitter and fall
as more plaster disintegrates.
My existence in Jerusalem
becomes a daily poem
binding me closely
to my historic roots,
to my magic ancestral world.
From Jerusalem in the Heart by Ali Qleibo. A Kloreus Publication, 2000. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.