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Volume 33, Number 5September/October 1982

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Paradise Lost

A Eulogy for Lebanon

Written by William Tracy

Many times I've soared above your milk-white heights,

Winged far above your fertile plain, your terraced seawardslopes,

Drifted down shafts of sunlight through towering coastalclouds

Until water, wind-flecked, gleamed underneath,

And sparkling city rushed to meet my expectationsI loved you

And my eyes, when I looked down on you in overflight,

Could pierce the distant heavy haze of summer heat...

I knew, not from the torrid sky but from my being,

Each glistening snow-crowned peak,

The cool green spread of scented branches over rock-boundancient roots,

Your stone-cut villages and temples of your every age.

I knew your vine-clad fruited hillsides

Stepping, blossom-strewn, toward an aery blue abyss

Where freshening torrents misted from the precipice to plunge

Through lush and shadowed depths,

To turquoise pools lapping boulders, lizard warm in oleandersunshine,

Then spring to nurse plantations on your citrus shore.

I knew your golden, sea-framed capital,

Your sons and daughters were my friends.

Today, in overflight once more,

I squint through glare of sun and pall of dust and heat and smog

To recognize a landmark from my heart,

Cool peak, sweet plain, sheltered canyon, verdant coast,

But all are shrouded now...

I hurry on across the sea.

I fear to sink into the haze to touch the ground

And learn the clouded view from heaven has become the cursedreality.

This article appeared on pages 2-3 of the September/October 1982 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.


Check the Public Affairs Digital Image Archive for September/October 1982 images.