-- Jerusalem Poker --

Found on:

Life Short Call Now (2006)


Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 1 November 2006

    Bruce Cockburn performed November 1, 2006 in Kelowna, B.C. with Gary Craig and Julie Wolf. At the conclusion of the instrumental Jerusalem Poker, someone from the audience asked what the song was. Bruce gave the title and said it was named after a book.

    Bruce: [quote] "I went there [Jerusalem] for a short time last spring, in Easter actually. It is truly the centre of the world and truly the nuttiest place on earth." [a little audience laughter]

    "...You know if you wanna wallow in the dire predictions that are out there which are many and all sorts of things, and you're inclined to think 'Aw, that's not gonna happen!' just go to Jerusalem. [louder laughter] That will convince you that everything dire that's ever been predicted is gonna happen. Soon!" [laughter]

    "[inaudible] ... and of course there are vestiges of much older things, vastly older things, but the city is divided, the Old City is divided into quarters. There's more than four. [louder laughter] There's the Christian quarter and the Armenian quarter, the Jewish quarter, and the Arab quarter, and the Muslim quarter... they don't call it the Arab quarter anymore. I think probably... [inaudible]. Standing in the Jewish quarter which is populated mostly by pretty Orthodox folks. Very beautiful place, very beautifully located and interesting... [inaudible] But there's this, next to this Jewish quarter is this Temple Mount where Solomon's temple once stood. What's there now is the Dome of the Rock--the Al-Aqsa Mosque--and there's a lot of agitation around that. The Wailing Wall is actually the foundation within that structure, so all the Jews go up to the Wailing Wall, and over and above them is the mosque."

    "And when we were walkin' down the street in the Jewish quarter, at one point there's a store window which featured scale models of Herod's temple which used to stand there--which is the temple the Romans destroyed in 70 A.D. -- and they're these beautiful wooden models of the temple, and of course there's a strong strain of sentiment in certain parts of the Jewish community to rebuild that temple and they're just waiting for [inaudible] ...Christians--fundamentalists--the Falwells of the world--are itching for them to do that, and there's a biblical prophecy that says as soon as they do, it's the end of the world. [a little laughter from audience]. We're all lookin' forward to that, right? [laughter]...So here we are looking in this store window you know, that says, you know, 'Get these now while they're still cheap.' [laughter] And then you go a little further down the street and there's a model of the temple they're going to build when the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not there anymore, you think, you know, these are people who are seriously entertaining the notion of destroying that mosque. That will be the Third World War right there. That's...if we don't have another provocation, that'll be the Archduke Ferdinand getting shot--Sarajevo--that, or whatever, but everybody's sort of cheerful about the idea [mild laughter] that it's gonna bring on God.

    I thought God was here all the time anyway but, I'm kinda rambling here as you [inaudible]... Jerusalem Poker, anyway, it's all a gamble, Jerusalem, and consequently [inaudible]...anywhere else too, because Jerusalem in some strange way _is_ the center of the world."

    --from live concert transcription at the Kelowna Community Theatre, Kelowna, B.C. on 1 November 2006. An anonymous contribution.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.