…for the people now in flight… from Afrin


And always:

(as big in their embrace as existence!)

Those who remain and Those

who go

and of these two classes:

a question in legs! another in furniture,

a third hard in their grief as a rock,

a fourth crippling

as an earache

a fifth mighty as a chest

with dawn, always, in our uplifting

(its fog colder than politics)

constantly descending,

and the roof of their mouth

housing my poor dream in halves,



And Those who remain and Those who go

why do they remain?

and where do they go?

and how much does it cost them?

(Accounting these chequebooks in loaves and children,

them greedy mouths and their gums all mathematic:

always a banker in roadsides, all destinations

checkpoints on their road to hell).


And who do they leave behind?

And how do they get there?

And how soon their arrival?

(which is negative to our waiting,

our reversal in human bargains!)

And what, finally, brother, is this place i call home?


Those who remain and Those who go

(as big in their embrace as life!)

for us, in our sitting,

solid as brick in our brittle lives

(i shake this house with my lungs

i open its doors,

this house who wears me like a hat

bombarding its head with security

– bitter as shrapnel!)


What wings open the air for Them?

What names do we call Them leaving?

What words welcome Them

who are more us

reduced of this Sunday,

(our perambulation in reverse)?

How do we greet Them now this wind

grabs us in our decisions?

And where, most importantly,

is this place called home?


For Those who have remained

and Those who have left:

a bed to bury your timelessness in

a grave to catch our songs out

a meal to nourish our darkening

a drink to swallow our drowning in.


And for the rest

for the bankers and the builders

the taxi drivers and the louts (who

hold these buildings up like parliaments)

for the square faced and the counters of shopkeepers

for all leavers, deserters,

in this flat earth

cleaved with time in its circles

and emptied in our furious filling

a note of promise!

a debt to be repaid!


We are coming

in this multitude

across our emptying earth

to embrace in recognition

these shivering shoulders,

and Us

(as big in our embrace as these extensions

called love!)

who is

this shivering friendship.


séamas carraher



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