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On the Road to Old Damascus We Became Blind


One of us was limping, another had lost a hand

but all of us were blind from the light and we followed the Doctor.


He had walked us across the desert, a blistered caravan,

making us love him with every drop of water


he let drip on our lips, our brief drenching.

We were a diaspora of men and a French girl called Odette


who each of us swore we hadn’t known before it all began,

linked together by hands that squeezed like they would never let go.


He brought us to Saladin’s tomb, we could hear chanting

from the Great Mosque and then the garden seemed full


of people, jostling us, breaking our chain.

It was to drown, it was being tossed about


by a sea of bodies, all of them whispering

that we were blind and would stay blind.


They scraped at our eyes then to make sure

and when there was room, when the crowd


had vanished as quickly as it had fallen upon us,

I fell to my knees and tried and tried to cry.


Soon I felt water on my lips and knew the Doctor was near.

You’re blind now, he said, how can you weep over what you can’t see.


About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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