Guest Poem by Clair Chilvers

Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and latterly worked for the UK National Health Service. She divides her time between writing and volunteering for the charity Mental Health Research UK that she co-founded. She lives in Gloucester-shire, UK. She has had poems published in online and print magazines including Agenda, Allegro, Amaryllis, Artemis, Atrium, the Ekphrastic Review, Impspired, Ink Sweat and Tears, Live Encounters. Poetry Atlas, Reach Poetry, Sarasvati and Snakeskin. She won second prize in the Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Competition 2020 and her poems have been longlisted or commended in the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize 2020, and Poetry Kit Competition 2020. Her first collection Out of the Darkness (Frosted Fire) was published in 2021 and her second Island (Impspired Press) in 2022. twitter @cedc13

For Beirut

A cento

Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field
a fountain of gardens,
a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon,
as beautiful as the famed city of Atlantis.
Walk through the lonely ancient woods
hear the voices from the Cedars of Lebanon.
Purity, love and perfection adorn her every season.
This place is within me; this place is Utopia.

Let fire devour the cedars of Lebanon

Small explosions like firecrackers
then the huge blast erupted
blast-waves shuddered through the city
destroying buildings, shattering glass
cutting down people
as they walked in the streets
walking wounded, dozens bleeding
dead pulled from the rubble
a ship anchored off the port on fire
a mushroom cloud into the air
like a nuclear explosion
not a natural catastrophe
this was a massacre.

Surely I will make thee a wilderness

Her fiancé led her funeral procession
to the church in which they were to be married
everything you wanted
will be present
except you
in the white wedding dress.
You broke my back my love
you broke my heart.
Life has no taste now that you are gone.

Where is your son
He’s lying dead
On a street in Lebanon.

Sources: 1.Isaiah 29:17; 2,3. Song of Solomon 4:15;
4,7,8. Ozioma Ogbail: Utopia; 5,6. John K Trainer:
Cedars of Lebanon; 9. Judges 9:15; 10-22 & 24-32.
Times Newspaper and BBC coverage; 23. Jeremiah
22:6; 33-36. ‘r’: Lebanon