International / Poetry

Poetry: Beirut, 1976 by Terry Douglas

Terry Douglas

Terry Douglas

Beirut. One word that can conjure up so many intense reactions. Terry Douglas, a poet and author, was serving at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut at the opening of the Civil War. Following is one of his many poems. This one is on a sniper’s bullet, chaos of war and life.

“Beirut–1976”

Fingering the burst of lead,
Shark rough after glancing the wall,
I contemplate my fate.Too light to weight paper,
This inch of bruised metal
Hurled from afar
By a stranger intent on malice.
“He is innocent,” I say.
He did not know me.
He did not reach me.
He did not see me fall.
Ten years ago
Alone upon the hotel roof
He crawled its edge
And faced me.
He hugged the rifle to the ground;
Eased it slowly toward a window
Painted bright in morning sun.
I was his target.
He was so distant.
He could not hear
The crush of glass,
The hush of fear.
“He was not responsible.”
Where is he today?
Sidon, Tyre, Beirut?
Damour, Damascus, Tripoli?
Paris, Athens, Bonn?
Or is he dead? Ten years of strife
Do take their toll.
If he were fifteen then,
Could he have survived to 25? Youth, soccer, laughter
Succumb to anger, fear, and hate.
Civil war consumes the young.
Spiritless and aged they become.He would not have heard me cry,
Nor heard from those who love me,
If sun glare had not confused his sight.

I am alive, well, forgiving.

Terry Douglas September 12, 1986

Terry Douglas is an author and poet and my father. Raised in the Bronx, New York, earning a B.A. in English Literature followed by M.A. in Russian Studies. Douglas also wrote a novel on Beirut, Ganymede, a fast paced spy thriller Cold War drama based in Beirut, Athens, and North Africa. For more information on his novels and poetry, go to his author page on Amazon.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C. (Please follow 9 Muses News copyright use policy.)

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