Blue of the dome alongside
sandstone of the church
atop the city skyline.
In the morning the vast inspiring
Al Amin Mosque.
Heads covered feet bare.
Under the chandeliers
our whispered voices
echoes of centuries.
Next as the sun sets
to the sound of
Come All Ye Faithful,
a carol of my childhood,
we climbed the spiral stairs
to stand at the feet
of the Mother of Christ,
the Lady of Lebanon.
Her hands stretching out to the city.
Today in the first summer of Covid-19
a new and bloody image.
Chemicals stored, lying in wait
an inevitable explosion.
Citizens neglected. Unprotected.
The mushroom cloud left central Beirut in ruins.
Crisis on crisis
In their masks against the virus
the people with a fury protested.
Demanding justice. Craving change.
Standing up together.
That New Year I was struck by
the shared city line of a cross and a minaret.
Above all I remember the people’s generosity.
By Joy Johnson