Poem of the Month, July 2014: The Pope’s SmilePosted: 2014/07/03
In May 2014, Pope Francis visited Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. This was the fourth ever papal visit to Israel. Ada Aharoni wrote the poem below on the pontiff’s visit to Jerusalem.
THE POPE’S SMILE
By Ada Aharoni
Written on Pope Franciscus’ historic visit in Jerusalem on 26 May, 2014.
In his Presidential abode in Jerusalem,
Where two years ago, I was proud to receive
President Shimon Peres’ Peace Award –
I watch you, Pope Franciscus
With a question deep as the Pacific Ocean
On the tip of my tongue –
Would you be ready to
Promote a Peace Culture in the Middle East
With the aid of our IFLAC project – the PCTV*?
Is your smile genuine?
On the TV in front of me
I listen and weigh the internal nuance of every one of your words,
You stand at Herzl’s grave with a grave face –
No other Pope before you had agreed
To visit Herzl’s grave,
And with eyes full of compassion, you pray for peace in Israel,
For two States – Israel and Palestine living peacefully side by side.
Your smile is bright as you speak of tolerance and of a culture of peace
That should be part of education all over the Middle East.
And I award you your first medal, Franciscus!
Inside the heart of the “Dome of the Rock” you call on the leaders of Islam
That surround you, and you warn them:
“There should be no Killing in the name of God –
No murder in the name of religion!”
The grand Mufti of Jerusalem bends his head
And so do all his companions. Will “Allah Akbar” really cease, I wonder?
I bestow you your second Medal, Franciscus.
At the Holocaust museum Yad Ve Shem, I bequeath you your third final Medal.
Forehead raised, you stare at the huge Dome of murdered faces and
You cry out – “VERGOGNA! SHAME! God, where were you
When this horrendous horror happened?
Man – humanity, where were you? I do not recognize you!”
And with eyes of fire you condemn war, anti-Semitism, and terrorism.
Our Peace project begins its embryonic shape
I feel stronger with every word
Pope Franciscus, your smile has captured my heart.
* PCTV – IFLAC project: A Peace Culture TV by satellite and Internet Channel.