Poem: Replica

By: Ruth Asch

replica

They are rebuilding proud Palmyra from kebab-sticks,
(the pride of peoples, razed to dust.)

One can no longer
sit by a temple wall to write of doubt,
from ramparts satirize the world of power;

party, or paint a pretty face;
the actors – have been beheaded.

What poems are there when all the lovely paradox
is swallowed by monsters:
Mammon, Daesh?

Art must do more
than repeat ‘How long, O Lord?’

Desolation has no spelling.

We cannot create a universe from dust,
from sand build monuments to stand up strong;
fill an empty village with words,
heal violated hearts with a song.

Full silence is the bread of those who contemplate…..

Silence.

But starving children cannot grow on silence.
Heritage, does not fall from trees.

So they replicate the monumental
in clay, and slivers of bamboo,
to turn young eyes from the face of evil,
teach new souls their history —
that beauty sows a seed,
ashes fertilize,
and it matters what is good, what is true.

We use what we are given.

I cannot write words strong enough
for the times we live in;
nor keep a perfect silence.
These poems, are my kebab-sticks.

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