“Aleppo… Mon Amour”

A hospital destroyed in a bombing raid – soon forgotten.


In the old quarter of Aleppo

A flickering festoon of broken bulbs

And blasted bunting surrounds the souk

Within the cables’ crackling sparking

A whispering can be heard,


“Shahid…Shahid…Shahid… Shahid.”


In the third cut of the night

The silence of darkness

Is rent by a mother’s cry

As she tenderly wipes dust from the faces

Of her husband, father, new born child

Found in the rubble of the kitchen

Of the house where they once lived.




A husband finds his wife

Clutching her son to her breast in death,

Tight against white phosphorous rain

The gnawing burning

Too quick, too hot to flee.




A barrel bomb crater in Tilel Street

filled by a ruptured water main

Becomes a lido where

Child survivors of last night’s raids

Splash themselves cool

Against the heat of the heat.


Some shoot marbles

At spent bullet skittles


Songs of praise and supplication

Ascend to paradise

Against the incoming mortar storm

Smashing marble pavements

Mosques, basilicas, hamams

To common dust.


One child speaks her dream of freedom

She does not know what freedom means

She expects it to be something beautiful.


This one wants her father back

She waves her arm

“He has gone away”

She longs to hug him

He has died.

Her face twitches with grief

She has forgotten how to cry.


A man picks oranges from a courtyard tree

A child’s dress flutters on a branch

Where doves once perched

He fills his bag and carefully treads

Through the shards

Stepping around the blood

Redding a toddler’s first shoe.


A dog gnaws at a bone


Michel Abdou Youssef,

Tends to the needs of the senile

In the Mar Elias sanctuary for the elderly,

He is the self appointed janitor, nurse.


Michel is only fifty three but has seen too much,

Through cigarettes and suffering

He looks much older


He never quite made fifty four,




© coolhermit 2023
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You have created a window into a moment in the madness and hate that besets Syria… consumes Syria. Personalisation of events makes people think, doesn’t it. I thought you did this very well, Coolhermit.


Stunning and yes, mercifully cliche free and reads well and powerfully aloud. Bravo, sirrah!

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