Sudeep Sen - The Wailing Wall, Revisited


A human being
is not symmetrical.
— srecko kosovel

I gently touch you now
not the way I did
eleven years ago —

not with that yearning
for faith and peace,
but with a private prayer

for inner calm, care,
stillness; and
for forgiveness and love.

The gleaming hand-worn
shine on Jerusalem stone,
where the public merges

with the private,
where prayer and passion
collide and unite —

where a certain kind
of kindness changes
to another kind —

where a certain kind
of passion changes
to another kind

of desire. It is
a blessing of time —
eleven years is a lifetime.

As I try once again
to wedge in
a piece of coded-paper

into the cracks
and joins of The Wall,
I discover

another paper
behind the new one
resisting my approach.

I try to force it in —
the more I try
the more impossible it gets.

Failing, I now try to
take out the old paper
that prevents my will,

take out that piece
and resize
my own new prayers —

but the longing
of past years resists
dislodging the old.

I prise out
the old folded sheet —
it looks weathered

and yellow
like the local stone’s
sun-stained ochre.

I open it —
it is the same one
I had put in

eleven years ago.
Time had preserved

preserved my wishes.
Was I the same then
as I am now?

Was the feeling then
more sincere
than now?

Passion for life
never wanes for some.
New love

like old love
its inherent truths.

Here, gun-slung soldiers,
pilgrims, children,
and men in black garb —

move forwards
and backwards —
their axis, their waist —

a symmetry
that instils and heightens
their own faith —

a symmetry
I cannot hope
to aspire to,

as I am —
like Kosovel’s man —
not symmetrical.