Tag Archives: Civil War


26 Jul

In my travels I have seen some incredible displays of war of barely just the previous generation. On one level they are lurid reminders of the sadness and tragedy (on all sides). When I asked around in these places (Vietnam, Lebanon, Dublin) why these pock marks on an otherwise pretty landscape have not been torn down or made into money-generating museums the people shared with me another side: they are reminders for peace. And my ah-ha moment came slowly, humbly.

I long for the day when I will visit Afghanistan and see the smiling faces of the people, sharing life around a table of mint tea and dolma.

The Holiday Inn, Beirut: Shot up after six weeks of being opening in 1975, adjacent to a modern high rise and now part of the background. Check out the holes along the right side.

The Gerneral Post Office, Dublin: the pillars bear the bullet marks from the Easter Rising, 1916

This poem compares these monsterous and beautiful monuments to titans: goddesses who were once beautiful but now are stone and ash, reminders of the battle.


“Over the past few years, the road to confrontation has shown its consequences: loss of innocent lives, destruction and fear. Most costly, however, was the loss of hope.” – King Abdullah II

She rose into the clouds
Towering over the city
Grey and scaled, each story
A rib of the underbelly.

Once welcoming onlookers
The handcrafted guarded goddess
Lulled the seascape with newness –
But that was some time ago.

She was silent: watching,
Waiting. Skin cracked, crumbling
Into pieces, her frame
Bearing wounds and ravaged

From whatever war it was.
There were no bodies left
Now, no blood, no stains but
Those great cenotaph scars.

This mother beast:
A Gorgon, turned to stone
And standing; a monument
Terrifying and alluring.

There are so many:
Beirut, Da Nang, Dublin.
Some are still, quiet;
Some alive and telling.

They protest the erosion
Of fated, forgetful minds
For whatever war it is.
For whoever lays down

Their lives and we pray:
Help us to look and see,
To hear and echo peace
Though we lie in pieces.



Featured Poet: James Clayton

28 Apr

This week is the FINAL Lessons from Lebanon poem and I’ve saved a real treat for the finale. This is a featured poem by never before published James Clayton AND a featured video by Greg Doutre. Did I just hear a wow? I know!

This week the final lesson is the reality of war. We met many people in Lebanon who experiences the reality of civil war. One man told us about the civil war when his now grown children were small witnessing their fears as war raged on all around them. I cannot imagine the desperate thoughts and sense of vulnerability I might experience protecting a young family and for many, many people around the world today this is a reality. My heart goes out to those who do not live in safe places today.



Thank you to James Clayton for your poignant words and Greg Doutre for your moving photography in the video!

If you are a writer and think you have what it takes to be featured here, please send an email with a poem and a brief explanation to me: augustreads@gmail.com

Follow me for next week’s poem  – insha’Allah!

Their War

It’s not academic, it’s not interest;

They know it. They have felt it.

They were there.

As the bombs fell, the blast

It lit up the faces of their crying children.

As the tanks rolled in,

The plates shook out of their cupboards.

A bullet is not just a bullet if it flies

Past your window.

War, it used to interest me,

Dare to say even excite me,

But now I grimace, it’s just so