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Unread 10-23-2018, 06:51 PM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 4,201
Default Sheer greatness

I trust everyone will joint me in saluting this timely, tender, and touching poem, an elegy for Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.


How can you be lying there?
Immodestly, among the rubble
When we want you to be here
In some other kind of trouble –

Luffing up, in irons, perhaps,
Just downstream from the Dove,
Lost in South London, without maps,
Or capsized in love.

What’s keeping you? A kind of dare?
Come back and tell us how you stayed
One step ahead, how you gave fear
The slip, how you were not afraid –

As we are. Look – here’s my idea.
Come back – this time, for good.
Leave your flak jacket and your gear
In that burnt-out neighbourhood,

And fly home, via Paris. You’ll be met.
I’ll buy a bottle from the corner store,
Like old times. You can have a cigarette.
Marie, get up off that bloodstained floor!


Tonight you threw your thin brown arm
Around my shoulders, and you said
(There was this unearthly calm)
‘Can’t you take in that I am dead?

Learn to expect the unexpected turn
Of the tide, the unmarked reef,
The rock that should be off the stern
On which we come to grief?

The lies, the ignorance and hate –
The bigger picture? No safe mooring there,
In Chechnya or Chiswick Eyot.
Those nights I drank my way out of despair,

And filling ashtrays filed the copy
You would read – or not read – with
A brackish taste and your first coffee
Contending on your tongue; while Billy Smith,

My street cat rescued from Jerusalem,
Barged in, shouting, from his wars….
As many lives as his – and now I’ve used them.
I wish I’d made it back to yours.’

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 10-23-2018 at 10:35 PM.
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Unread 10-23-2018, 07:29 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,195

Illiterate that I am, I didnít know he could write so well.
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Unread 10-27-2018, 06:34 AM
Catherine Chandler's Avatar
Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Canada and Uruguay
Posts: 5,687
Blog Entries: 33

Thank you for posting this wonderful poem, Sam.
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Unread 10-27-2018, 08:02 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 4,526

I understood that this was an elegy for Marie Colvin. Are you re-dedicating it, Sam?
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Unread 10-27-2018, 10:59 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,738

An excellent elegy, quite moving. I just listened to a reading of the poem. I don't know if Jenkins is the reader himself or someone else.
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Unread 10-27-2018, 11:26 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 4,526

It sounds as if it could be Alan, though I have only heard him read once. Marie died in 2011 and at the time, Alan said:

Shortly after Marie Colvin was killed in Homs the Sunday Times called me and asked if I would be trying to write anything for or about her. No, no, I protested, it was far too soon, too early even for grief; I was in shock. In the small hours of that night I woke with a start of deep shame at what Marie would have thought of my maidenly blushes. Over the next few days and nights I wrote a poem I called “Reports of My Survival May be Exaggerated” – Marie’s words on a Facebook update posted a day or so before her death, when, having filed her ST report from Babr Amr and got safely out, she decided to go back in, to witness the next stage of Assad’s war on his own people. Reporting wars was, after all, what she did. Writing poems is, after all, what I am supposed to do.
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Unread 10-27-2018, 01:47 PM
Edmund Conti Edmund Conti is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Summit NJ USA
Posts: 395

Am I missing something here?
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Unread 10-27-2018, 06:47 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,945

It was republished recently in connection with Kashoggi's death. Perhaps this is what Sam saw, or something similar?
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