Sunday 30 August 2015


                                                                   Palmyra 2010

Palmyra August 2015

The barrels of explosives are laid.
Callous indifference to the destruction
About to take place marks the workers.
Boyish glee, jokes and hardly a qualm
As the match, flame and fuse unite
To unbuild the ancient temple.

A few days before, the eighty years
Of scholarship amassed in one man,
The lover, the guardian, the sage
Of Palmyra were erased
With the swipe of an axe. Beheaded.
 People have little worth,
A temple still less: a cluster of stones
Which used to be a city: so what?

For what effect were they hoping?
Fame? No. Page 44 in The Times
Is hardly that. Notoriety, perhaps.
That we care, that the old crossroads
Of trade was unique and loved
That is enough, to destroy.

The Temple of Baal was blown up on Aug 23rd 2015
Khaled al_ Asaad was killed August 22nd 2015 at the Palmyra site

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