A sightseer in Beirut

The resilience of Beirut's communities inspired Unite's Joy Johnson to write this poem on the recent tragic blast

Reading time: 2 min

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.

Memories evoked.

Resilience. Determination.

Above all I remember the people’s generosity.

By Joy Johnson

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