... that in Aleppo once...

The last flower seller in Aleppo
has died, killed by the shrapnel from a bomb
that dropped from blue and cloudless skies above
the plant-filled roundabouts that he supplied,
the bombed-out balconies without bouquets,
the gardens of his customers now dead.

Someone has locked his garden gate
and left the red and pink geraniums
to wilt beneath the blue and cloudless sky
from which, or so he said, the sound of war
was like Beethoven's music in his head.
He has become his customers, now dead.

There are no flowers here to decorate
the grave wherein he lies. Instead, I plant
rosemary for remembrance. I plant rue
for grace, the grace with which he cut the fresh
and fragrant roses for customers now dead
and buried next the grave wherein he lies.

I place, also, beside his plain headstone,
some hazelnut, some loquat and some pear,
a sprig of mistletoe, a laurel wreath,
some calla lilies, a thin hawthorn branch
and, imported from a distant nursery,
a single, small, intricate Bonsai tree.

Conor Kelly

If you have any comments on this poem, Conor Kelly would be pleased to hear from you.