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The Basra Corniche

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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:31 PM
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The Basra Corniche
I posted this a few week ago in the Writers' Group, where it attracted a glorious one comment. I don't usually write poetry, so I wasn't really aware of the separate Poetry Group. Anyway, this is loosely based on photographs from a friend who recently returned from Basra, Iraq. I hope the debt to Robert Lowell isn't too obvious.

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The Basra Corniche

There is grit between the drummer's teeth
On the Basra Corniche
A scrape of soil, of dust
Caught in the mouth
A gold filling of land

In the gnawing city behind
Horns and sirens grin
Against unsmiling semi-automatic crackle
And music, and music from everywhere, laughs
With it, he drums, tasting the grit

Young men stroll earnestly together
Murmuring family, politics, friends, business, and politics
They are serious - to relax is serious
Important business, in Gulf-cooled breeze
The drummer knows

There is no seaborn balm
In his town, five roadblocks from there
Dry winds pick at the fine soil
Leaving grit in his teeth
A communion with country, with his family's land.
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