Lamentation #1–Oh Syria! Oh Syria!

In times of conflict, should we mourn beyond mere rhetoric?

*****

Where once my nephew,
the child of my eastern
brother,

ran,

where his laugh rose
light like a lark song,
there is now only the
endless

procession of

magpies.

How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!*

Where once he knelt to
pet a street dog–a
mongrel mutt, my
brother said–
only to have child
cheeks

lapped

and affections loosed,
now there are only

small, innocent

shrouds.

How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!

The raging nations rush
to take the high ground

occupied,

they say, by their gods,
or their war birds, or

the last, most

nuanced tribes.
Rhetorical sleight of tongue,
they have forgotten
the way of

mourning for

children.

She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.

*****

*All italicized words from the biblical book of Lamentations, Chapter 1.

 

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