Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Kenneth Sherman


Winter 2019 - Sherman

The Master of Repetition

I first visited Jerusalem in the summer of 1969. I was residing in a youth hostel that served as a student dormitory during the school year. Each morning I would set out to discover a different section of the patchwork city: the Armenian Quarter, the Christian, the Jewish, the Muslim. Jerusalem: no other city embodies such a powerful vision within the very syllables of its name. The promise of peace and brotherhood; a day when we will surrender our petty resentments, our hostilities. On that day we will accept and embrace one another. This dream of Jerusalem has proven to be unattainable, yet we refuse to relinquish it. That is why poets persist in reminding us that Jerusalem “breaks men’s hearts.”

This piece first appeared in Queen’s Quarterly 103/4 (Winter 1996).


Kenneth Sherman’s most recent books are the memoir Wait Time (Wilfrid Laurier University Press), nominated for the 2017 RBC Taylor non-fiction prize, and the poetry collection Jogging with the Great Ray Charles (ECW Press).