The Great Synagogue of Constanta: A poem by Brandon Marlon

By Brandon Marlon


The Great Synagogue of Constanta

Amid the forsaken sanctuary grows a tree
green and lanky, tilting with the wind
ever since the roof partially collapsed.
Standing sentinel is the yellow fleurette
Star of David overseeing the amassed debris
below, a congeries of chipped cement,
smashed stained glass, plaster, and wood beams,
ruins overgrown with shrubs, carpeted with dirt.
Arched colonnades uplifted by blue pillars
attest to the Moorish Revival design
of a halidom once admired by Ashkenazim
from near and far keen on the sublime;
now only mean dogs frequent the detritus,
foraging for kosher remnants of another sort.
Where now there lies a rubble heap
once stood a palace aglow with worship;
where filth now strews the floor
once stood congregants before the upraised scroll,
devotees enthroning on their praise the Most High.
The building is the body but the assembly
is the soul; bereft of its sacred entrails,
the desacralized shell succumbs to the elements,
a bittersweet vestige verging on demise,
its hallowed scenes enshrined in memory.

Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 150+ publications in 23 countries.

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