March 27, 2015 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Peter Krok




A beast rises out of Babylon

Consumed with its own fire,

Unsatisfied until others are ashes

And no one remains in its shadow.


Cracks in the earth.  Embers.

Fear in the faces. The land weeps.


The Tears. Wailing. The rivers

Bleed. The pitiless earth.


A horde out of the east.

The dead speak from the sands


The Ruins. Ruins.  Loss.

Who will put back the stones? 


Broken cities. Broken lives.

Hope bends its knees.


So many heads, heads, thousands of heads,

Flash across screens to shocked eyes.


Black hoods, hoods of the nameless, faces

Without faces.  Death clutches its sword.


A three-horned beast.  John turns a page.

Hate breathes, stirring the beast.


Existing in the tears of mothers,

The voiceless rise like ghosts.


The wheel takes another unforgiving turn.

A wounded red paints the air.

The fire next time.  The fire this time.

The dust will not clear.










(Lemon tree very pretty

and the lemon flower is sweet … — Will Holt)



The Holy Land is mad with red.

Jerusalem is in arms and weeps.

Hate hurls stones in Palestine.

The elders play games looking

For a trump. They throw

Human dice against the Wall.

Fanatics strap bombs on their back

Proclaiming a hot indifference

To another’s breath and their own.


Bethlehem sheds its children.

Who will know these tears?

Cries of the helpless fill shattered rooms

And broken cities. Bloody hands

Greet mothers at the doorstep.

In a cage in the Middle East

A Jordanian pilot is burned alive.

The horror. Horror. So many dying.


A wounded red paints the air.

The wheel takes another

Unforgiving turn. Earth goes

On its ordained course.

Who will care for the lemon tree?


“… but the fruit of the poor lemon

Is impossible to eat.”






Peter Krok is editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal and Humanities Director of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center in Philadelphia where he has been coordinating a literary series since 1990. His poem, “10 PM At a Philadelphia Recreation Center,” was included in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. He is much-published and known as the “red brick poet” because of his connection with the city. His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press in 2008.


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