Imperial Armies in the Garden
original images created by Sam Kerson,
9 X 12 linocuts
printed by Sam and Katah at Atelier Circulaire Montréal, Québec 2004
poem by Katah
Palms Reach up to Allah!

The palm tree shades the orchards from the desert sun

admire the Nakhla from afar!
Emerging majestically,
its bright, vibrant green leaves tower to the sky…
a nations palms reach up to Allah!

In the village, peaceful, tribal, communal life,
the daily struggle for trade, for autonomy, for subsistence.

The palm tree shades the orchards from the desert sun

Dibis, khal, areg, staples for survival

War is declared…
Anxiety, tragedy, hostilities
The calamity of occupation
Clash of peoples, clash of values, clash of faiths

A green massacre, performed by stained souls as collective punishment
Trees uprooted, trampled…
fruit not yet ripe
The hay, the grain, the beehives, set ablaze
Systematic, cruel, senseless acts

workers, families, peasants watch with trepidation, bewilderment :
disgust and revulsion arise…

The earth trembles under the bulldozers

The palm trees lay flat to the ground…
fruit are scattered and crushed
scavengers circle
…some branches can be salvaged for firewood…
as the villagers wait for hunger and death…

The land is left scarred and bleeding
women crying,
children wailing
Victims of violence, opportunism and greed

Enmity develops

A young breed of Hanadi Tauseer Jaradat emerges…
Shuhada, they will die shaheed

The elders discuss how to eliminate
the poison that has infiltrated the veins of their land…
how the wolves and rats can be destroyed…
the sense of self-preservation advises…

Dibis, khal, areg

The oasis has dried up

There are no more palms to shade the orchards,
There are no more orchards to feed the people

e-mail message from Roberta Waddell, New York public Library, May 26, 2004
Dear Sam,

It was good to talk to you yesterday, and to learn about your linocut project. "Imperial Armies in the Garden." I spent some time this morning at your website studying the images in that series. The portfolio looks wonderful, tackled with a freshness and immediacy that serves well the timeliness of the subject. As I progressed through the series, the images took on a kind of Biblical grandeur and scope, which you communicate so well though form, pattern and your connection to the linocut medium. Though the actual scale of the prints is modest, they share a monumentality that
belies their size.

I hope your projects in Mexico are exciting and energizing!

With best wishes,
Roberta Waddell
Curator of Prints
212-930-0818; fax: 212-930-530

Sam and Katah at the Atelier Circulaire, an article written by Sam Kerson
back to Sam's home page