Syria, Syria – I spied you from the Golan decades back, caught site of Quneitra’s soft outline,
remembered then Damascus, city of rabbis, bishops, imams, of Paul’s blinding moment on the way.
Now I mourn with you as armed men contend for your soul,
some wanting freedom, others unholy conformity while a tyrant lets you bleed and bleed,
lets children dwell in fear sans food, sans school, sans hope.
I will not dispel you from my thoughts, Syria,
though your agony challenges God and men, statesmen and scholars, mothers and saints.
I will argue with the Absolute over you – why such pain to the innocent?
I will pray and hope for an end to your bleak night,
I will advocate for peace in small ways with humble pleas to the powerful,
I will support the caregivers on your sad and savaged ground – as will so many.
I will not forget you, Syria, will not stop aching for you.
Benjamin J. Hubbard is a professor emeritus of comparative religion at Cal State Fullerton.