These Walls

upstairs downstairs SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein


How many did these laboriously

Hewed walls

Close in on

As they trudged endlessly

With buckets laden

And arms weighted

Up and down

And up and down again

For more?


How many did they shelter

Under siege

Of catapults and

Rusted arrows

As the walls shuddered


Onto the bitten lips

And rounded shoulders

Of those crouched below?


How many hastened feet

Did these walls keep secrets for

Under the cover of


And sentries’ snores

As lovers met

In darkened corners

To remember

Life before?




For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Wall



The Tree

the tree amitaiasif

Photo: Amitai Asif


“I will wait by the tree,”

She had said.

“At the fork where

The road

Meets the lush, green


Wait she did,

Day again and again

And a month, and another.

Wait until they had come

Trudging home

From the war,

Wearing smiles, but

Carrying the weight

Of their sorrows

Around them.




For Becca Givens’ Sunday Trees


Soul of Soil


Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev


Do not soil the soul of soil

With harm

And hatred.

Do not foul the loam of life

By sowing death.

Walk gently on the earth

That holds the lot of us.

All water that flows on

And under

Has flown everywhere


Belongs to no one


Do not soil the soul of soil

With war.

It is unholy.


To growth.

It stains all harvest


With tears

And broken hearts.

Enriches only


And sorrow’s scars.

True stewardship


We find



A common ground.



For The Daily Post

Can You Hear?

Can you hear the hearts that beat

across the mountains, deserts, oceans

hoping for safe harbor,

an anchor


Can you see small fingers gripping

other little hands

bereft of parents,



Can you hear the soft breaths

of babies


in tired arms

weighted by


violence, hate, war?

Can you hear the calls

in dreams

in prayer

for safe passage

for a welcome

to belong?

Can you —

how can you not —


the urgency

of hope

that hardship snuffed

and yet


yearns to grow?



Photo by



For the Daily Post


The Scent of Home


Child Refugee – Photo by UNICEF

The scent of home that she no longer has.

The spices, baking, the aromas

Of togetherness

And family

And love.

The scent of grandma,


Killed by bombs.

The scent of ugliness

And war.

The scent of mornings

Blurred by smoke.

The scent of sea, now tainted

With the stink of gasoline

And sick

And worry.

The scent of tent

And mud



The scent of hope

Faint but held

In Baba’s handkerchief —

He said he’ll find them

One day

In Wherever Land.

The scent of fear

In mother’s arms

Trying to filter comfort through her own terror

Devastation. Loss.

The scent of home that she no longer has

Wafting away

In search

Of someone

Who will help


Make a new one.

Hold your ground …

no wounding

These days, with much strife in the world and overmuch rhetoric of fear and hatred, it can seem easy to feel pulled to lash out, to “get it through the thick skulls” of those who are supposedly different/less-than/not-as-right. It may seem justifiable to use violence: emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, religious, political. It may seem like “this is the only language these people (insert different/less-than/not-as-right populace here) understand.”

Frustration breeds anger. Helplessness breeds desperate acts. Rage breeds blindness.

Let us not wound others in attempts to heal/correct/make-right/avenge/justify.

Hold your ground for kindness.

There is plenty pain in this world without adding to it. More wounded people will not a healing make. There is plenty drama without conjuring more of it. More despairing people will not hope bring.

Hold your ground for care.

May there be a path to true-heart-reason. Not to ‘fairness’ maybe, but to humanity. Not to ‘justice’ maybe, but to compassion. Not to ‘paying back’ but to gaining calm. Not to ‘avenging’, but to taking a step toward finding a common ground. One we can all hold on to … a healing span.

May there be less wounding. Wounds already borne will not heal faster if more are inflicted. There will be no less rage if ire remains amplified. Fires will not be put out by constant dose of fear or hate or it-is-their-fault-that-I-have-to-do-it. No more. Alienation. No more. Harm.

Let us all, hold our ground. In open hearts. In listening. In understanding. It is past time.

Whatever fights you are pulled to become embroiled in–personal, communal, religious, political, national, global–may you keep your feet firmly rooted in empathy. May the seedlings of care grow strong and fine. May we patch up the hurts to foster quickest healing, and may we carry hope and light, for they are the menders of all hearts.


bandaid pup


A Path To Peace

Peace is not made by force

Or guns

Or terror.

It is not reached through the infliction of an added pain

Unto another

In the name of God or righteousness.

Peace is not made

By fighting for it with hatred

Or another war.

Children everywhere are children

Worthy of far more.

May compassion multiply and kindness grow …

To put out the fires of hatred and division,

The smoldering of war and rage,

Of profiteering and apathy,

Of greed and power-hunger

Disguised as they can be by flag or faith or vocal moral lore.

May compassion multiple and kindness grow …

To pour cool peacefulness

On zealots and prejudiced

And remind them we have all been born

Under the same skies

In the same form

Onto the same blue-green shores.

May love flow through the wounded places

Through the broken walls and empty spaces,

To fill the shattered hearts with light,

To gently hold

Let light unfold.

we dont need