Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Jerusalem
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Via dolorosa, full of smells,
Fig smell, spice smell, smell donkey dung,
Smell of Franciscan garden, overhung
With palms and tumbling creepers.  Sound of bells
On lop-eared sheep, on towers, on trotting mules
Hammered by urchin heels; bells tongued and rung
By pilgrim-trapping merchants, their wares young,
Their wiles as old as commerce or as fools.
Buy genuine thorny crown or cross of gold,
Buy bibles intricately mother-o’-pearled ―
Limitless market, no satiety.
Christ stumbles as he walks here, trying to hold
What heavier load ― the sins of all the world,
Or dead weight of the whole world’s piety.


1976
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983