Far Babylon by Ralph de Smit

There by the rivers of far Babylon,
comforts there amid the admonishments–
the hymns of longing, the railings of wrongs,
the tongue trilled wails of ritual despair–
you knew who you were in far Babylon.

Those who were strangers then are strangers still,
not at home with ease, not at ease with home,
mourning nameless loss, strangers to themselves–
nothing stranger than the stranger at home
wanting the strangeness of far Babylon.

In some distant place that other Zion,
an unpromised land of exile and unease,
where liturgies of loss may still be sung,
ever further from the ends of longing–
ever further, that more perfect Babylon.

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