Song Of The Cedars by Doug Tanoury

Your church bells ring shrill in the mountain air,
Like a woman's cries lamenting the loss of her children,
Your son's scattered as widely as your holy wood,
Toward every point on a sailor's compass, your daughters
Carried off to the hinterlands like Europa speeding off
On the back of Zeus, yet the miles and years never dim
Their memory of you, a mountain village hidden in the
Shadows of the cedar groves, telling their children of
The land they left and the magic trees that sucked up
The spirit and strength of the mountains they grew on.

Cedars for boats manned by dark skinned sailors,
Ladened with colored glass and polished brass,
Billowing crimson sails cutting across a purple sea
In the twilight dawn of history, speeding west bound for
Cyprus, Crete and Carthage, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica,
Out beyond the Pillars of Heracles, bouncing on the
Tall waves of the Dark Sea in tiny boats of mountain wood.
Cedars marked for Egypt and the tombs of pharaohs, the
Babylonian palaces of Nebuchadnezzar and Tiglath-pileser,
For Judea and Solomon's temple, the palaces of Byzantium,
Mosques of Islam, crusader's castles, basilicas in Rome,
Cathedrals in France, cedars tumbling down the slopes,
The mountains echoing their fall, their thundering crash.

Your church bells ring shrill in the morning air,
As sheep graze in the valley, and men ride donkeys
Down winding trails, but your cedars are gone,
Felled and spent years ago and have followed the
Old Phoenician glory into the twilight dusk of antiquity,
Olive groves now grace the slopes, and the only
Thunder that echoes in the mountains are the sonic booms
Of Syrian MIGs jetting over the snowcapped peaks.

1996 Doug Tanoury

The Internet Poetry Site of Doug Tanoury