Andrew Lansdown: ‘The Joke’, ‘A Lament for Israel’ and ‘Ringed in’

The Joke
Israelis butchered by Hamas on October 7, 2023

It is good, in the face of slaughter,
to keep a sense of humour.
There’s nothing like a joke
to lighten the heart and help one cope
with the heebie-jeebies of the day.

And without doubt they could do
with a little lightness and laughter,
the surviving Jewess and Jew
whose ears on the seventh day of October
rang with the Prophet’s war whoop.

“Allahu Akbar”, explained one scholar,
means merely “God is greater”
(being Islam’s God, of course)
and essentially denotes “a celebration
of life, not death and destruction”.

Laugh, what? It’s side-splitting!
A jaunty jest brassier than a jihadi.
And a US Senator got in on the gig,
claiming, “the phrase is no more troubling
than a Christian saying ‘Thank God’”.

Thank God for a gag and a giggle, eh?
Still, they are mostly a gloomy lot,
the Jews, any excuse to moan and mope,
despite the proverb of King Solomon,
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Allahu Akbar! A cry of celebration?
It’s a joke, a quack’s prescription.
So yuck it up, Jews, guffaw loud and gruff.
Muhammad’s men are gathering again
to help you laugh your heads off.

Andrew Lansdown

A Lament for Israel
October 7, 2023

What wondrous hate is this,
oh my soul, oh my soul?
To chop the founts of bliss
from a mother’s chest …

To boost an oven’s heat
to bake a baby whole …
What wondrous hate is this,
oh my soul, oh my soul?

Andrew Lansdown

Ringed In

At the airport I am reminded of a stallion
I once saw beside the Blackwood River.

There is a young man ahead of me,
a little restless, yes, but mostly docile,

making his way with stops and starts
towards the uniforms and x-ray machines.

He is following a maze path defined by
nylon straps stretched between chrome stanchions.

Notwithstanding the power and champing
of his youth, he does not think to make

a break for it—to push against the straps
until the moveable posts topple, then step

over the jumble, lifting his feet high
as a wild horse might lift its hooves

to avoid entanglement going forward.
And watching him I recall that stallion

I saw a decade before we all were gelded
by fear of the jihadis and their holy war—

a chestnut charger untethered and unyarded
but nonetheless unfree under four gumtrees

whose trunks were the corner posts
for a single strand of flimsy plastic ribbon—

white ribbon that baulked the great beast
and ringed it in as sure as wood or iron railing.

Andrew Lansdown

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