Gezer, lumbering giant,
Big bear on outstretched paws, asleep and grinning,
Folded over dreams of cities;
Rich men building in your belly
Ill-digested architectures, victories and defeat;
You lie between the golden valleys, softly rumbling and asleep.

For ten years we’ve sat across your shoulders
Scratched your back
Massaged you, lazy bear, while our backs ached.
And yet we cannot say we did these things for you,
Soothed old pains, excised old guilts of yours;
For as we sat and carved your body,
Decorated your back with a thin pattern of scars,
Raised great clouds of dust and incense over your shaggy head,
Even then
It was ourselves that responded,
Grew taut and polished, scarified and sweet-smelling,
Ourselves who, for ten or six or four or two years,
Turned over in our sleep, danced crazy jigs, stole wild honey,
Met, made enemies, made friends,
Fell in love, escaped from love,
Borrowed each other, brought sorrow to each other,
Created dissension, created union;
Ourselves who hypothesized, clarified, conceptualized, intellectualized
Labored two months and dreamed the other ten,
Or labored ten months and played the other two,
Or labored, played, dreamed in happy unison,
Crystallized upon the opposition of the two segments of the year,
The two segments of the year
Joined together, inevitably, like the halves of an oyster.

So, Gezer, bear, brother,
We have loved you, and, like all lovers, used you,
But above all, we have tried to be faithful to you,
Clear-eyed and careful in what we saw,
Honest in what we recorded, mathematically elegant in our interpretations,
Truthful to the limits of our understanding;
So tell us, Gezer,
In all the long years of your history
From the years of the men who dwelt beneath you in caves
To the years of those who raised you huge monuments
To your years of gentle slumber,
Tell us, Gezer, truthfully,
Were there ever ten years like ours?