Terza Rima for Tish’a B’Av
Chariots no longer rattle through the Tyropean Valley.
Now, silence looms. No more wails. No more cries.
Layers of soot and smoldering ash coat every alley.
They’ve been carted off, the fools with the wise,
though no-one knows where. All the gates and doors
were left open. From entranceways flames still rise,
from mansions, villas, study-halls, and stores
where people bought flour, wine and meat.
Black smoke, like a sorceress, billows, then soars
above the ruins, where once scholars would meet
to discuss ancient texts and argue the law;
where prophets walked and justice had a seat;
where the High Priest stood in divine service before
the ark with its cherubs on the holiest of days;
now, silence looms: the songs of Levites are no more.