The Archeological Remains at Tel Arma

What bodies lie here, piled high,

this pyramid of white remains,

all interlocked and interwoven?

As if, though long since death’s been served,

they have snuggled closer than one could

while still alive, to stop the cold.

Was this an ancient battleground,

a holocaust, or rite, the wherewithal

with which to placate some angered deity,

this bitter swath of citizenry, flung

together in a briny pit, a capsulate

portrait of their time, all packed, and ready to be shipped

by this slow venue

for us to view their misery and despair?


Or should one imagine an overwhelming plague

where rushed and overwrought, the diggers

sought to seal from sight

their friends and neighbors to save themselves? O Tel,

O nameless mound!

Your weeds have tears instead of dew.

But what your swaying greenery, and time,

has done its best to cover,

remains a stark reminder of fulsome decay.

For who has gained one brief iota, one single insight,

from this drear miasma?

It rises from the earth with cries of shame,

and fills the air.


That which hands, in the name of Science, handle,

are scribbled plaints that rattle down the ages,

querulous claims that civilization’s frail refinements

had not yet reached this primordial strata.

And yet how different is the sunlight’s glare

from our sharp fluorescents? How many miles

have we traveled from Tel Arma?