We all live in a place in time,
Often between famine and insurrection,
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.
Vancouver, Canada, listening to Goreckiís Symphony #3.