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Poet evokes the tragedy of Syria

17 February 20170 comments

A Melbourne poet has penned a visceral and haunting work evoking the human tragedy of the destruction of the ancient and once beautiful city of Aleppo, in Syria.

Sanam Sharma had his first book of poems, titled Tamed words, published in July.

He says he tries to explore the things happening in the world around him through his poetry.

“I have no personal connection with Aleppo but I felt strongly about the things that were happening there – and as a migrant, I try to work from the perspective of a dichotomy of cultures,” said Sanam, an HR Manager who volunteers with migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia.


I write this
to that enthusiastic archaeologist who shall
one day stumble upon these ruins.
As you diligently dust off time from the
remnants of this city one day, it’s crumbling veneers
may not be truthful enough. For they
may let you in on half the tale only.

These ruins
may brag about the glory that
once lit up this town. Willing only to
reveal shades of preserved affluence studded
through it’s collapsing vestiges.
So if the half-truths don’t kill your curiosity,
I urge you, to listen closely, to the silence
of these ruins, for it is lush with stories too.

Place your ears
next to the friable walls before they fall
in a heap too. For they have been holding on
to a handful of screams and cries
that remain frozen inside them, for death came
unexpectedly that night, to those who lived
there, depriving them of a chance, to let out a
shriek, or even a muffled moan.

Walk a mile
or two, through the dusty lanes of these ruins.
Be warned though. As you take the stroll
you may run out of breath, for you walk through curdled
blood. Blood callously cut loose from the throbbing veins
of young and old alike.
For that night, helpless parents carried bleeding kids
through these streets, and,
clueless orphans sobbed next to dead parents.

As you wander
through the ruins, they may whisper to you too. Itching
to befriend you and share the darkest of all
their secrets, with you.
There are half-told lullabies too, that echo
through these ruins, each night.
Told a long time ago, by a father to his kids,
hoping that they would fall asleep,
before death knocked in that night.

So, one day as you sit next to these ruins,
brushing away the dust off them,
be gentle with your strokes,
for these ruins hide wounds
that continue to simmer under the scabs.

Sanam Sharma