Poetry Safari We had known each other, For fifteen years, As friends and colleagues, But never as a photographer, And a poet. Then one week in October 2016, We found ourselves in Beirut, By chance, by fate, And discovered a new path, Along the city streets, A new side of each other. I met Doumit’s father, Who opened its history, I saw Lebanese cedars, Which taught me of presence, And of its roots. I saw the ancient churches, Sculpted from rock, Like a soul. I met the hermits, Who taught me of silence, And words and poems, Which are written inside us. And we walked the streets, Of Beirut, Which are never the same, Each time you take them, Always giving anew. We discovered paths, Talking to Eddie the jeweller, Who was there every day, For forty years, And had seen it all. And to the woman, Hanging from her balcony, Like a climbing rose, Who was too old, To love any mortal, But declared her love, To her daily lover, Beirut, Beirut, And declared her luck, That while so many, Had lost their lives, God had wanted a more beautiful, Girl than her to kill. So we went on an afternoon safari, Of photographs and poetry, Armed with a camera, And notes on a phone. To try to lay bare, Something new of ourselves, Something of this city, Its streets, its peoples. To write and to shoot. Uncover in a few moments, Beirut’s bare roots.