Cities of Smoke

 This is the text of the poem Cities of Smoke by Alisar Iram which features in the video                                             

Cities of smoke

Smouldering burning

Blazing In a configuration

Of stone concrete steel

And human flesh


Cities of rubble debris wreckage

Rubbish and broken homes

Pasted with remains

With the white bones of children


Cities shattered dissipated dissolved

Resounding with the sinister                                                     

Dissonance, the unholy clamour

Of deafening artillery and shrieking missiles


Cities crackling baking raging

Into the nights of nothingness                                                                     

Into the torched dawns of annihilation

Proclaiming the time of the beast

Announcing the apocalypse

The undoing of ten thousand years of civilization


  Cities of smoke                                                                                           

 Preach to us cities of the broken young

Villages of violated children

Wailing distraught mothers

Helpless raving fathers


Preach to us cities of staring graves

Gaping old men and mutilated women

I had not thought that death has undone so many

that the earth sprouts corpses


Roar louder you bones of the unburied dead                                                                    

And howl until the thunder of mercy  

Breaks open the silent brooding heavens

And a deluge of compassion

Wraps you in the folds of grace.


Cities of smoke and melting concrete                                                   

Forging against the nothing of emptiness

Sacrilegious sculptures hewn out of terror

What is that sound high in the air

Murmurs of maternal lamentation

Who are those hooded hordes swarming

Over endless plains over the shifty asphalt

The houses of the poor stand inviting like                                                             

Skeletons stabbing the collapsed horizons

Piercing the fallen firmament

Spearing the stars in their spheres

Through the cascading stardust of blood.


 O let me not stare at the ancient forests                                                                 

Blazing a trail of damnation

And let me not wander through

The burnt murky fields

Where the children of the apple tree Once played


Let me not search for the concealed corpses

In the arms of the scorched earth                                                                           

Wailing under the sweaty feet of the butchers.

O for the orchards of Damascus

for the norias of Hama

O for the golden medows of Homs


By the walls of Daraa                                                                                                          

By the walls of Douma

By the ruins of Hama

By the apocalypse that was Emassa Homs

The city of the thousand sorrows

I sat down and cried


By the river of Deir Azzor                                                                                       

By the trembling quaking earths

Of Ancient Syria as

The armies of doom march

Spitting fire and annihilation

I sat down and cried


By Ibla the white of the five millenniums,                                                                          

Ibla the mother of libraries baptized by fire

By fair Mary the radiant city

Of the Goddess of the fountain

Ishtar the bright the queen of heaven    

I sat down and sobbed


By Ugarit the giver of alphabets

And the first harmonies

By the swan of the desert

Where Zenobia the empress of the East once stood


By the tremulous monuments of Palmyra,

Its loveliness squandered by the looters

For thirty pieces of silver

I sat down and wept


By the old churches where the Lady dwells

By the shattered minarets and blasted domes                                                                   

And the fallen mosques of the heroes of legend

They who never fell

By the majestic walls and battlements

Of the citadel of Saladin

Holding court among the stars

I sat down and shed my burning tears

For Aleppo, for its chronicles

 For its story of civilization


By the spectres of the ancient

Kings and queens of Syria

Peopling the heavens to stand guard

By the cradles of mankind

I bent and cried tears of thunder

To see so much given to dust


The vast deluge of profane time

Surged and charged                                     

Inscribing the tablets of the cities of the dying

The horizons collapsed

But the cities of death yawned and gaped

Roamed by Kali of the skulls

Caring nothing for the dying and the dead.


I recall and remember                                                                                             

That rhythm of the fountain

In the hidden walled garden

That whispering measure of the lute-

What have you done to the children

What have you done to the jasmine

I recall and remember


On the Road to Damascus                                                                                       

Along the Street Called Straight

I sat down and wept

The heirloom of civilized man

Awaits Armageddon and the descent

From the crackling heavens of the Antichrist.


Behold the modern day Golgotha                                                               

The hill of skulls

Rising and still rising

Atop of the cracked cities of Syria

And I shall show you a thousand Christs.

Staggering under their crowns of thorns,

They hug their torn children

The heat blinding them

The bombs of the executioner

Mangling slicing


Shape me, cries the formless devastation                                       

Remake me, wails the scatterings

Raise me, howls the shredded concrete

Reroot me weeps the trees in their ashes

Remember me moans the marble, the stone the basalt

Remember Remember Remember me

Call the lost dead in their lost dreams      


  The father is history                                                                                    

The mother the repository of civilizations

You will not darken our inheritance

You are but the shadow of death

The dark deed that howls

In the darkest dens of memory


You are

The primordial chaos the nothing                                                                           22

An Aberration and a curse

The sun will rise again

The destiny of the Mother that shook the cradle

Shall be arbitrated by life not by death.

Alisar Iram

26 July 2012

©Alisar Iram






About alisariram

I am an artist, a writer and a researcher. I know Arabic and English . I am interested in music and art of every description. I like to describe myself as the embodiment of a harmonious marriage between two cultures which I value and treasure.
This entry was posted in Alisar's art, Alisar's poems, Annihilation, Art, Civilization, Death, Destruction of cities and habitats, English, Images, Poems, Syria, The Syrian Revolution, Victims, Video and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Cities of Smoke

  1. Pingback: Cities of Smoke | alisariram

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