We feature work by poet Anne B Murray to mark National Poetry Day 2010.
Anne B Murray was born in Glasgow and has worked there for the past 10 years as a tutor / facilitator in creative writing for Glasgow Life, a community-based adult learning project. In addition to her poetry pamphlets, Anne has had several individual poems published in various journals and anthologies.
These two poems are taken from 'Galilee to Gallicantu', published by Terra Firma Press.
Anne says: '"Galilee to Gallicantu" is a record in sonnets and accompanying colour photographs, of a journey made through the "Holy Land", with its strange mix of unholy contemporary problems, and magnificent religious art.
'The 12 sonnets take the reader from the beautiful and relatively peaceful area around the Sea of Galilee in the north, through poverty-stricken Nazareth, down to the war-zone of Hebron in the West Bank, to the enigma that is modern-day Jerusalem — the city so important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.'
The tombs of Abraham and Sarah. Hear!
This place is sacred. As our guide relates
the ancient tales, we sense the modern fear.
The sky is stark. The heat intimidates.
Israeli, Arab, both defend these forms.
The broken town hides not its inner dark,
its shattered glass, debris of man-made storms.
From road blocks children jeer and stray dogs bark.
Inside, the tombs are barricaded well.
They mean so much; so many hold them true.
Old walls enclose, new metal screens repel.
There's irony in this restricted view.
Among these ruins, prayers rise, curses fall.
I wander, knowing nothing, pond'ring all.
Incongruous above the Eastern walls,
the minarets and archways of fine stone,
the Saltire graces many simple halls.
The Church of Scotland's presence here is known.
A Naz'reth courtyard shows Saint Mungo's Kirk
and Glasgow's coat of arms formed in mosaic.
I smile, surprised to notice such a work,
a gift from our Cathedral, no mistake!
Elsewhere the Paternoster's on display
in Doric, Esperanto, Dutch, Fon, Greek
gie us oor breid for this incomin day;
the same request in sixty tongues they speak.
But more than prayer is needed in this land
And more than artwork by a foreign hand.