Honey on the elbow – try sucking and you’ll see.

Though even this prospect ‘s worth more than you or me.

Yet we are here, present and correct, while peace in Syria’ s

But a sweet smear; a smudge on the lens of war-past-war.


Was it ever thus? Is this still politics continued by other means?

In Geneva the protagonists play on, much as they always might

They are the high and mighty, after all.

In Aleppo young men with mortars play out their immortality to the last drop

You don’t have long, lads; aged 27 it turns sour, anyway.

But who knows what the people think? People more partisan

With every falling shell…or past caring whatever it was they once cared about?


Man in gown, transgender pink, not in the ballroom as you might think.

Admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of chlorine inhalation,

Brought on by a barrel bomb – no barrel of laughs in the swimming pool.


The hospital has moved above ground again. Back to normal? Only that the ground floor and basement are now full to overflowing, forcing the reclamation of upper storeys where the ‘walls are open’. Intentional or not, the Syrian doctor’s turn of phrase is undoubtedly poetic. She says again that ‘everything is not enough’. From her lips this is by no means a statement of infinite entitlement. According to another doctor, a Syrian-American who recently returned to the United States, they don’t even have painkillers. In which case the miracle is that people keep on coming.

And the point of pointing this out? The point is to point. Addressing atrocities in terms other than the immediate, means calling to you, dear reader, across the wasteland. It’s important, you see, to retain the capacity for we, renewed by reference to things more important than you and me. And if this makes us ambulance chasers or even vultures whose collective existence feeds on the dead and dying, let’s hope the true nature of our dependence, depends on what we go on to do with it.