Clair Chilvers

For Beirut
A cento

I
Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field
a fountain of gardens,
a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon,
as beautiful as the famed city of Atlantis.
Walk through the lonely ancient woods
hear the voices from the Cedars of Lebanon.
Purity, love and perfection adorn her every season.
This place is within me; this place is Utopia.

II
Let fire devour the cedars of Lebanon

Small explosions like firecrackers
then the huge blast erupted
blast-waves shuddered through the city
destroying buildings, shattering glass
cutting down people
as they walked in the streets
walking wounded, dozens bleeding
dead pulled from the rubble
a ship anchored off the port on fire
a mushroom cloud into the air
like a nuclear explosion
not a natural catastrophe
this was a massacre.

III
Surely I will make thee a wilderness

Her fiancé led her funeral procession
to the church in which they were to be married
everything you wanted
will be present
except you
in the white wedding dress.
You broke my back my love
you broke my heart.
Life has no taste now that you are gone.