Syria – a poem

Yesterday I took part in a Zoom meeting with some fellow poets from Bristol who belong to a group, the Lansdown Poets, who have been publishing together since 2008. Our theme was Asylum, and our pamphlet was to have been launched at a reading in Bristol but the event was postponed because of the pandemic. Hence the virtual event which was, I think, a great success, and we hope that we have raised awareness of Bristol Refugee Rights, a terrific local organisation and helped with donations to support their excellent work. I read a short poem Syria which is given below. It is not political and not polemical, but attempts to describe the almost incomprehensible magnitude of the disaster that has befallen that great country. My daughter-in-law, Rosa Farhang Holland, read a translation of the poem in Farsi. Alas I cannot reproduce the script here.


baked from the clay
where dwellings once stood

people too
all around
strewn with them

tempest emptied
syntax broken

survivors buried the dead
fled from their ruined country

abandoned hope
of time's gentle unfolding

the loved fabric of custom
the enactments of meaning

placed their lives
into the hands of strangers

mislaid them for years
though remembered

Published by davidcookpoet

I am a husband, father and grandfather. I retired from a busy working life as an adult psychiatrist in 2014. My interests are in literature, philosophy, modern jazz and horse racing. I might represent those four fields by Shakespeare, Kant, Charlie Parker and Lester Piggott. Like nearly all of us, I can identify a number of formative experiences, one of which was a psychotic episode in my first year as a psychiatrist. This reinforced an already established interest in mystical experience, and a sense of how little human beings know. My intellectual bugbear is reductive materialism, and I am surprised at the lack of moral imagination of those who promulgate such views. It seems to me they need to consider ,perhaps by exposure, just why totalitarianism is so horrific.

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