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