Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Tourists at Masada

Dead Sea

buses drive along the Dead Sea
filled with tourists of all colors and creeds
modern cable cars bring them up to
the ancient fort called Masada

I can’t imagine anyone living here
especially thousands of years ago
but we are seeing empty cisterns
the storage rooms, baths,
their “apartments” along the walls,
Herod’s broken down palace,
nesting sites for the pigeons
the Snake Path and Roman ramp,
the difficult access to this place in the past

we say a prayer in the old synagogue
one of our group brought a tallis
and prayer book for this purpose
the rest of us are busy with our cameras
while listening to the guide
trying to understand the fear
the zealots had of Roman slavery
their decision to commit suicide
no escape – no other options
soldiers camped all around
outnumbering them

while history is being brought to life for us
I notice the birds chirping and a tree growing
in the dry and barren soil
the birds seem comfortable with the tourists –
after all they can fly away quickly
the tree reminds me that life renews and
beauty can blossom
even in a place of such desolation

copyright 2006 Linda H. Feinberg
published 2006, BU Arts & Sciences (partial)
and The Reporter

1 comment:

Bruce said...

When my wife and i visited Masada in the 1980's we were stunned looking at a mosaic tiled floor...i recall being struck @ how in the USA if things are a few hundred years old, that's impressive. But here we were looking at a beautiful mosaic floor whose ancient credentials were significantly more impressive.