POEM WRITTEN BY
Graham McGarva
Sunday 24th March
Home Vancouver, Canada, listening to Goreckiís Symphony #3.

We all live in a place in time,

Often between famine and insurrection,

Sometimes not.

Sometimes in un-remembered centuries

With sunrises and sunsets as though they did not exist

Unless history revives them for fashion.

 

So I will go back to the Tigris and Euphrates,

By the waters of Babylon, dammed now

And damned now by dictate of history

To be a time for shells in craters.

I will look down from the mountains

Across the no-fly zone, such as decreed by

Antiochus, who did not know he was a lesser line,

When he templed Mount Nemrut

For one brief place in time.

 

En route I will fly over the bombed ruins

Of New York, a once great city on the Hudson

Now fearing for its security

With a battery of searchlights

Scanning the skies like London in the Blitz.

This being that place in time between the

Saving of St Paulís and the rebuilding

Of the World Trade towers;

(Like the ugly stepmother

Made beautiful under the veil).

 

And thinking of St Paul and the ass, in veiled flight

Across the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates,

Where I am going is the village of Abraham,

Ground zero of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Gazing from there the limitless frontiers

Of Iran, Iraq, and Syriaís Republics,

What frames the hazy perspective?

the rump of the Ottoman Empire;

the heart of Mesopotamia;

the crossroads of Asia Minor;

or Mehmetís cottage, sipping apple tea

over fields fashioned by his ancestors,

rough hewn history of each working day?

 

And why would you assume this is a sorrowful song,

When the cup is still warm.  

Graham McGarva

Sunday 24th March

Home Vancouver, Canada, listening to Goreckiís Symphony #3.

 

 


Top of page