The Call

the call - Jewish quarter in Girona, Spain

Nearly every town in Europe has one
– a Jewish quarter;* strange peoples
gathered and grew into enclaves
staging voluntary exile from environs
then a leprous walling in, then a winkling out
by fear, fire or persecutory decree
short notice, up-sticks banishment

always a dispersal, the call to another continent
dismissed as tribes, twelve of them
some lost, some found but nominal nomads
here one century, gone the next
moving on or melding into the brickwork
like the cement of a Sabbath ritual

Now in these petrified parts of the city**
we piece populations from a few upturned relics
inquisitive visitors peer where inquisitors trod
in pursuit of phantoms up and down careworn stones
along labyrinthine passages from a biblical age

I cannot go again and see such resurrections
cleaned and displayed
as though nothing happened here but a vanishing

© Laura Granby

*The Call (pronounced like pal) or  Jewish Quarter in cities & settlements of Catalonia- from kahal or kehilla, Hebrew for community. See Network of Jewish Quarter in Spain

**This was Girona, Catalonia – In 1492, 200,000 Jews left Spain under The Spanish Expulsion

A plain verse rendition to unite with other poets at Poetry Pantry


  1. In a way this is chilling…always a dispersal to another country, another continent. The petrified past does live on as a reminder….a history, a museum piece. If only we learn!


  2. Beautifully crafted and a reminder that these exclusions and persecutions repeat and repeat……and are echoed in some of the us and them rhetoric we are hearing these days from people who are utterly misguided in their campaigns to lead nations. Sigh. I never thought I would fear a holocaust in north america, but it could happen. Human nature does not wish to evolve. Thank you for this thought-provoking poem, Laura.


  3. Thank you for this humbling poem, it challenges us to wonder at human nature, Cannot we be better selves

    thanks for adding the process notes, helped me to understand how you came to title your poem

    A good Sunday to you Laura

    much love…


    1. the poem has a personal touch – half my husband’s family are from the Spanish expulsions – the other half Ashkenazis from Poland. Those in France lived to tell the tale as they were hidden in a convent as well as by a farmer – those left in Poland did not.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.