I didn’t know…..

I didn’t know

I didn’t know that you can make walls or a roof

Out of the sacks the World Food Program flour comes in

If you sew them together

And I didn’t know that fresh sheep milk boiled with sugar

Is like drinking pure bliss

after a night sleeping out

In the tent village

And I didn’t know that you offer

Salaam Aleichem

To the angels upon each of your shoulders

When you bow down to pray

And I didn’t know that a school uniform gives a child

A way to put on dignity and put off

The dust of the dirt floor

and the wet

From the leaking roof

and the smoke

from the scrap wood fire

the only warmth in her home

Or that when someone makes one cheese toast for supper

on top of the electric space heater

He gives half of it away to a stranger

of course

Or that a thirsty man you meet on the street

might ask you for a drink from your water bottle

And think it was the most normal thing to do

And the holiness of everyday mangos and

The abundance of pomegranates shared between friends

A kind of Communion.

Our common humanity became visible here

Became naked here

Like a certain Child who came wailing into the world here

And I will name them all my people

As certainly as I name that Child my Lord.

4 thoughts on “I didn’t know…..

  1. Such a grace-filled poem, accounting for the accompaniment you have brought to the people of Palestine and the gifts they have given you in return. blessings on your way, Chris. Salaam and peace. May ‘shalom’ be a true vision for the people.

  2. Dear, dear Chris…. thank you for this. I am (once more) in tears. It touches me deeply.

    And I didn’t know that I too would be offered
    dinner on the house in the Capitol
    tonight
    together with two bananas on a plate
    brought to me
    and hot tea
    then, too, I cried
    they show us the Way.

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