The Mind of the Dead Sea

She might boast, I suppose,
That she’s a thousand feet deep
And twelve times the size of Manhattan—
Or that she’s only twelve miles from
Those holy ruins—

Or that she’s fed by the famed and holy river—
Or that she is always calm,
And her waters warm—

Or that millions come each year
To look on her emerald waters
And golden shores,
And to float for fun
Or for healing.

And these are impressive,
To be sure.
And there is much
To love about her.

But at the end of the day,
There’s always the one consideration
That we cannot forget about her—
That she is quite dead inside,
And that neither plant nor animal
Can live and grow in her waters.

She takes in only a little,
And gives out nothing—
Tucked away in that lowest of
Low places on this Earth,
From where getting anything out
Is an uphill battle.
And so she hides, as it were,
From the other seas.

And she has nothing to say,
But keeps to herself—
Though we do sometimes wonder
Whether she was really like this as a child,
As so few are, and have learned it since.

Hers is the one-way soul
Who never learned to dance
With someone else,
As far as we have seen—
Who can watch, but never show—
Hear but never speak—
Who can take in the rage
And the joy
And the horror
And the pain
And the gratitude—
Adding relentlessly to the pressure—
But can never let it out.

And I can only wonder
That she must not feel safe—
Either that, or that
She has got herself sedated
In some way and for some cause
That I may never understand.

And what a pity that
She will never—
As far as we can tell at present—
Dance with me and my friends,
Who have so much to say
And to do
And to wonder about
And to explore
That we look at her
And think there must be something wrong
That she stays so quiet
And cannot be coaxed
To bring her gifts out into the open
Where the fellowship is.

And if she has got a better party
Going on in there,
Than we have out here,
Will she not share it with us, her friends?

And so we stand,
Lonely for the company
Of her truer and fuller self—
Which, we suppose,
She keeps
Inside herself,
Just as we do
When we are not out visiting—
The sort of self that comes out to
Greet its guests warmly,
And has something to say,
As if truly at home among friends,
And feeling itself the better for their visit.

Yet here she stands,
So welcome among us,
Yet so different from us,
Being mostly absent in our presence,
And not inviting us in to visit her
Wherever she really is in there,
And letting almost none of it out
That we could know her
Well from out here,
And that she could, in turn,
Know us—though that’s not hard to do.

The choice is hers, though,
Sad as it may be to us
To have to wait to enjoy her company,
Not knowing whether it will ever
Come to pass,
And occasionally wondering whether
It might be better to wrestle her at the door,
Pushing in to tread where we will,
To see the place, finally, for ourselves.

But rather, we count it her temple to keep,
And we long for the day
When she may let herself out of it
To visit with us
And be our equal
As we are already hers.

20010cookie-checkThe Mind of the Dead Sea

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