David Kessel

Lament for a Taliban Land

Rigor mortis of Brits' demented empire

on hard famished plains.

Rain falling on the troubled streets of London

on Afghan iron fields, blood!

A Taliban lad, lead in his silver,

shot by a Surrey Para,

his sister taken to a GI brothel,

the devil knows why we're there.

Beneath an apricot tree their mother weeps,

fallen, withered, apricots.

When this winter's snows melt she will rise

like the eagle, over savage mountains, genocide,

and the fragrant flowering pomegranate

'O the fatal loveliness of this land'.

[Note: last line is a quote from Dead Roots (1973) by Arthur Nortje (1942-70)].

David Kessel © 2009