Damascus Road: Paris Interlude

image
http://www.aljazeera.com

Now it happens
in places with names we know:
near streets we have walked,
in stadiums and concert halls,
in coffee shops,
where violence never breathed before,
where we were safe.

Now we look for signs of links
to Syria, to al-Assad,
ISIL, and cells which fire.
Nothing has prepared us, yet
to others this has brewed for long.
The boundaries ever shifting say
that nothing was ever safe.

When French Charlie can’t say his name
without all heads turning at once,
the times are only waving a sign.
Once, when peasants were offered cake,
no-one ate to celebrate
Today, remember: Damascus’ streets bustled before,
and in the days of Noah men ate and drank
and no-one saw the rain.

Nazarene (II)


 

aleppoDid you meet in Damascus?
Did you greet at the stalls
and meet in your homes,
all safe in their walls?
Was there never a time
when your people weren’t here?
Did you meet in Damascus
and sing?

Did you meet in Homs
where your buildings were tall,
where the foundations laid
were the surest of all?
When the children jeered
and the guns came in,
did you meet in Homs still
and pray?

Did you meet in Aleppo?
Did you gather as one?
Did you watch as the armies
burnt in like the sun?
Were your family called kaffirs
and your friends sent from you?
Did you meet in Aleppo
and weep?