The Gate of Horn

We strolled through the Old City  past soldiers carrying machine guns at the ready.

Pops didn’t seem to notice, intent on educating us.

“This gate only looks old,” he said.  “Ottoman Turks built it in 1898 so the Kaiser didn’t have to walk. Wide enough for a carriage.”

An armored car idled in the square, its bristling guns lending it the appearance of a dangerous insect.

Pops walked past, talking. “Homer wrote that dreams pass through gates. The Gate of Horn is for true dreams. False dreams pass through Gates of Ivory.”

I heard a distant explosion roll across the rooftops.


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  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    A nice (not sure that’s the word I want to use) blending of past with present. In Jerusalem, where I snapped this shot, we passed quite a few young soldiers carrying machine guns. A jarring presence in a beautiful ancient city. Well done.



  2. Lynn Love

    A gorgeous tale, spinning a safely distant past with a dangerous present. Makes me wonder how much distance do we need for terror to read as gripping fiction. Wonderfully wrought

  3. Dale

    Must agree with everyone here, I love the mix of past and present and I like to think that Pops does not want to believe in today’s world – maybe in the hopes things will change to the way they were? Or maybe he’s just delusional

  4. Iain Kelly

    So sad that much of the ancient world is being destroyed or is just too dangerous for travellers to discover in the modern world. I like Pops attitude to it all.

  5. Joy Pixley

    I can see why Pops would want to live in the past and deny the present, given the nature of the present. Perhaps his are the true dreams, and the present has come through the wrong gate.

  6. Nan Falkner

    Dear J Hardy Carroll: Pops has the right attitude to make it through an unhappy period in time. He is truly a magnificent dreamer and tries to show the beauty of an ugly world. Good job! Nan

  7. L.E.R.T

    What if we just ignored our grim surroundings and circumstances like ‘pops’? Wouldn’t it make the world a little better place to live? Very powerful writing. Glad to have stumbled across your piece.


  8. neeltheauthor

    The intersecting of the past and the present is not e happy one. I like the character clash here due to their entirely different perspectives. Very well written.

Don't just stand there.