In commemoration of the fall of Kōnstantinoúpolis 29 May 1453
Everything dies in time:
Memories, birds in the trees,
That old druid forgetfulness.
Time plays such cruel deceptions
Creates such havoc in the mind
I reach out and hope
To find somewhere human.
Sardonic, yes, witty, the sceptical glance,
The silent prayer, faded romance,
Converge into this plea:
Wear your learning lightly.
Reach out to Syrian and Lebanese
Assyrian, Druze, Maronite, Ezedi
Come, cross the same seas
That Homer once travelled.
Draw us into this web of separation
To kill or be killed by a man-created necessity.
Now, in the torn wreckage of those
Bastions of Islamic scholarship:
Damascus, the ancient universities
Of Baghdad, these mosques of Constantinople,
That were once churches, and will be again.
Where worshippers share poppies,
That have their roots in men’s veins,
Cling to the ghosts
Of all us murdered Byzantines, begin again.