The Muslim Graveyard, Tel Aviv

The clutch of trees across the road
was once a Muslim cemetery.
An old man told me: ‘Long ago –
when I was young – it was a dare
at night, as Jews, to venture there’.

The sea-front Hilton towers nearby,
though tourists sheltering there won’t know
small squads of schoolboys used to goad
each other, shit-scared, to steal where,
at ease, they take the evening air.

What ghost would have the nerve to show
his face? Or claim in this abode
they’re out of place, and occupy
what still remains his final lair?
Which no green youth now fears to share.

That old man’s pensive, long download
included tales of family
who’d stayed in Lodz, and perished. So,
if you think history’s unfair –
to whom? And how on earth compare?

Tom Vaughan

If you have any comments on this poem, Tom Vaughan  would be pleased to hear from you.