It’s difficult to imagine how we might react to conflict. To bombs, to murder, to violence, to seeing our loved one’s and places to which we are attached destroyed.
Here is one such imagining…
Today I have decided that I will no longer look at the earth around me. I will only look up at the sky.
I won’t look at the earth in front of me. At the bricks and rubble which was once a home. At the dust and pieces which once cradled a little boy’s room. At the remaining standing pillars which once held love and warmth. No. I will only look to the sky.
I won’t look at the street ahead. At the lone body of a man sleeping on the side. He sleeps with no breath, with eyes open wide. Once he sat on those steps, a glass of tea in hand. Beads running beneath his fingers, lips moving to a sound. I asked him to tell me a story, and his toothless smile gaped wide. His eyes spoke before his mouth, of days and childhood gone by, and his hand reached into a pocket to gift a sweet almond and then a sigh. Now he lies asleep on the side of the road, smatterings of blood on his side. No, I won’t look at the street ahead. Only upwards towards the sky.
I refuse to look out at the horizon. Past the streets to where a special ground lay. Where crowds of children once ran, disorganised, chasing a ball after the long day. Tufts of grass amongst sand and dust, school bags pushed to the side. And here was a dream, kicked and sent high with the ball: young eyes traced her movement, willing her to land in goal. Spirits were raised high in clenched fists, and visions hopped between the chants and danced among kicking feet. Then when the sun would dip, players and fans would disperse…and the dreams would scurry to the shadows conspiring for the next day.
I refuse to look out at the horizon. Where the ground, now empty, lies. The dreams ran away from her when the tanks took her stage: they drew holes and cracks upon her floor and thundered their calls into the air where the balls once danced. And the memory of boys was thrown away, bouncing dull thud after thud after thud…
I refuse to look out at the horizon. Only the sky, where I can dream all day.
I just won’t look around me. At the ghosts of companions now gone. No. I will only watch them as they climb up to the skies.
I refuse to look around me, at crushed domes and falling minarets. But I will raise my eyes to the heavens, to once again hear their calls emanate.
I will only look upwards at the blue, so I can remember her sunny days gone by. I will only look upwards at her wistful clouds, so that like them, I can forget the world and travel by.
And maybe things will change. Evaporate, move by. The nightmares of the earth will dwindle up towards the sky. And the heavens will promise the earth with one more chance… so that I won’t have to look up at the sky.
(It was picture number 17 from this www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/11/syria-in-ruins/100402/ which inspired this post particularly alongside the rest of the powerful pics, although the pic of the sweet girl above was taken by Iman Mohamed in Gaza, 2009)