Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Listen, brother, I have a story
That you might want to hear.
Shall we sit down a moment? That stone will do
As a seat. It will have to do.

Forgive me, I have no chairs to offer you
Brother, but that stone you’re sitting on
Was once a wall of mine,
On which my daughter hung posters
Of Turkish pop stars

Those posters irritated her mother
Like the jeans and sleeveless tops she wore.

Now, it’s of more use, perhaps –
As a buffer against the ground beneath
Muddy with the blood
Of those who have gone.

Look here, past my pointing arm
There, I used to sit of evenings
And talk to my neighbours. Their children played
Football on the beach.
Now they play nothing anymore.

One night, I sat there
Looking up at the stars
And my son sat beside me. I told him
Of galaxies and quasars
Of black holes beyond the reach of time and space.

My son asked me, then
Whether one could fly up into the sky
And reach the stars, and there to be free.
My daughter came up behind us
And told him he could go
She would remain to be with me.

I wish you could have met my daughter, brother
She had a smile like the sun,
And wanted to be a doctor. But she’s gone.
My son is gone.
Only the stones remain.

And I
Waiting to speak a word
To someone who passes by.

Tell our story to the world, brother
Tomorrow I will not be here
And the tanks will crush these stones
Under their iron treads.

When you leave this all behind you, brother
Tell the world of my son, my daughter.
Do not let our stories
Wither and die.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

Photo by Antonio Olmos


  1. Leathersammie29/07/2014, 22:14

    It's excellent, it made me cry and remind me to pinch you really HARD if we ever happen to meet in person.

  2. As sad as I have been these weeks, this story is so powerful that it seems all the tears of Gaza are contained within it. I dream at night and I say to the Palestinians that I am sorry. We Americans all should be sorry. The only hope is that the story of Gaza, and of Palestine, will be told over and over. Please tell your friend that. Even in spoiled America, we will not let the story wither and die.


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