SPARROWS IN ALEPPO
The rain has ceased and like a golden aria
A blackbird sings among the green.
That high, velvet trill of nature’s innocence
Caresses my mind and slowly
Pushes away a congregation of anxieties.
Did blackbirds sing in Mosul once?
Did Aleppo sparrows chirp between the shells?
Did not just one grain of Kabul sand
Outweigh my cushioned western worries?
Blackbird, caress my conscience.
We are the victims of geography
Pollen, history’s scattered humanity ill-fated
Cold beneath hate’s stars,
Burning in the sun’s misunderstanding
Terror and complacency, so many miles apart
The blackbird’s song reminds me that
Those of us bereft of Holy Books can only listen
Beyond sweet avian notes like windblown blossom
Our vocation, voyeurs of remote violence
Becomes another shameful occupation.