Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates

Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates watching Greek armies,
Roman archers, legionnaires armed to the teeth, British
forces, American military, empire-building further, further
east and south across your deserts, hills, ravines, cities,
villages, their shape-shifting alliances, offensives, counter-
insurgencies, crushing the centuries old silk-trade routes
 
Oh Tigris descending Armenian highlands,
Oh Euphrates born in Kurdistan, watering Kunsa’s
garden of Eden, marrying as one grand current sweeping
through Basra emptying into the Persian Sea
 
Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates witness of Greeks, Romans,
British, Americans sighting enemies over the next ridge,
ever expanding military exploits taking a toll on men,
women, children, plants, animals, here and at home:
the homeless, the unemployed, the sick, the orphans,
the widows, the aged, the rich richer, the poor poorer
 
Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates seeing generations of generals
crossing your sacred shores, their unquenchable thirst
for wealth, power, influence, aiming to outdo others,
not forgetting Alexander’s legendary exploits in Persia
 
Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates birthing Babylonian, Persian,
Shiite, Sunni, Kurdish girls and boys by your endless flow
of waters, while the Greeks, Romans, British, Americans
sought your artifacts, resources, strategically set
at the crossroads of civilization, Oh Tigris, Oh Euphrates.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

We need to recover and renew in our lives a vision of the church as a pilgrim people, already holy yet still sinful.
Brian P. FlanaganOctober 22, 2018
Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecká at the Synod on young people (Credit: Vatican Media)
“I was surprised that they even listened to me,” said Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecká. “I am quite young and a woman. I wore a white stole. They are not pushing me away.”
Luke Hansen, S.J.October 22, 2018
Two questions arise: First, is Dean Koontz to be listed among serious novelists at all? Second, what makes him a Catholic novelist?
Richard M. DoerflingerOctober 22, 2018
 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018