The Poetry Kit





How-to Books





Who's Who





  Catherine Kanaan

After reading Lynn Strongin's poems I had flashbacks to my own experience of war or at least the closest I got to one.  I was in Lebanon on and off during the civil war. Even now, 17 years later, there are psysical scars. The psychological scars will be there at least till the generation that lived through the war is gone. 



Lebanon, 1993     Haibun


We headed to the mountains, leaving the frayed, bullet holed city to sweat in the summer sun as we swooped upwards on rutted roads. Bald tires squealed each turn and rocked us in our cradle

of old american sprung seats.


the adulterous affair

with america the beautiful

in old chevy seats


We felt a sudden freshness, began to pass small worn villages that breathed carefully in the aftermath of war,  a moslem village here, a christian  one there. Pockets of lush vegetable gardens sprouted everywhere.  It was foul medame season.


moslem, christian, druze

segregated villages

integrated graveyards


After an hour we reached the village of Souk-el-Gharb, its main street  battered even after several years of tenuous peace, deserted but for a couple of shuffling  women in  black. I had a sudden vision of them preserved in mothballs  for the eternity that was the war, only recently re-aired.


two black moths


in the dead village


We parked in front of the old stone house, still  intact  except for the roof which had disgorged its red Marseille tiles.  We didn’t need the key. Several armies had passed through. I picked my way carefully and entered.


front yard rubbled

careful steps in case of 

unexploded “ordnance”


The walls were still standing. There was the bathroom where I’d had my weekly bath, water warmed in an oversized aluminum  pot, the kitchen with grey marble sink miraculously untouched,  the familiar crack running through the middle.


another life

I am a cat

with nine lives


We checked to see if anything was left but no, even the soul had gone long ago, the walls were mute.

 I stood in eerie silence  listening for anything. The house gave off an almost hostile feel, suddenly seemed to say, “I’ve been betrayed, ravished, go and let me be.”


a ragged village

still stunned

still shunned

Back   Next