The Safe Train to Aleppo

A remembrance by my friend, Mark Johnson, who attended the American University in Beirut and lived in Lebanon for several years during the 70s.

This is what I continue to see
Through the windows of a train
Pulled as if off the movie screen
Large and isinglass a pane full
Of desert stretching to the horizon
Doors thrown open boxcar-like
Bent metal tubing framing benches
Shorn sheep bound under some
Farmers with large cloth wrapped bundles
Frequent stops to take on and drop off
Passengers no stations no schedule
Who walk off toward the main feature
Of the landscape, beehives of bricks,
Aleppo bound from Damascus
On an Ottoman relic and we are safe
Safe in ways no one is today
Safe in the innocence of humanity
Safe in a memory now dust and rubble
Safe in a way they will never be again,
Oh Lord take us all back to then!

Mark C. Johnson
Stony Point, NY

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