Antony Johae

Green Line

“Only poetry knows how to marry this space.” – Adonis


The combatants stuck their guns in the window spaces
Fired across the ruptured streets in spurts
At shredded curtains blowing in the pregnant wind
At pockmarked walls riddled by ancient war.

Then could be heard the blast of a car blown up
Shells shattering the dome of a goodly mosque
Bombs dismembering the church of Holy Maryam
And raining mortar fire insidious before the mortuary.

O mutilated city – where puffs of hateful smoke
Put out the puff of life, where concrete crumbles
And pipes ooze as if the streets were bleeding –
I see your people clinging to its wreckage.


Along the paroxysmal line of mortal fire
Red tracer bullets marked the pungent sky
And detonations sent shrapnel searing into schools
Shops, banks, brothels, and the municipal museum.

Caught ships lay rusting in the rotting harbour
Nets hung torn and holed on the sinking quay
Sandstone houses stood gutted in the rubble
Columns, stained glass, and arrowed windows gone.

But now I see a woman in wedding white
Meeting her groom with roses and carnations at night
And multiple green springing from Adam's clay
Among the ruins, quickened by the heavens' ray.

Lebanon 1975 – 1990

Antony Johae © 2015