(with apologies to Sarah Holland-Batt)
The governments nor rebels will not hold.
Townships will not hold. Memory will not hold.
The house you grew up in; its eaves; its attic will not hold.
The Temple of Bel, the Lion of al-Lat and the Ajakbach will not hold.
The pomegranates – the رمان – in the bowl will not hold.
Something is always about to happen.
Explosions in Aleppo; sarin in Damascus
and the parents who raised you, the teachers who taught you, have vanished.
It is an art, this ever more escaping grasp of things;
imperatives will not still it – no stay or wait or keep
to seize the disappeared and hold it clear, like pain.
So tell the UN orders to go on;
tell the skirmish of gunfire to go on;
tell the useless scraps of paper, the lines to go on.
It is winter: that means the children are gone,
that means the days are getting shorter.
And the dark water flows endlessly on.