I travel along the floor of a valley once full of life,
which had the misfortune of being on the path to Jihad.
Sweet grapes once grew everywhere, but now their
burned stumps stand like tombstones with the epitaph,
“Here lies prosperity – you should have let us win.”
If one journeys far enough, however, one can find a
corner that yet blooms, fed by a spring of sweet water
that flows in gurgling streams between mud brick walls.
There, the grapes grow again, the children learn to
read and green has started to reclaim the dust and ash.
An Elder with a wooden leg and black turban gives
welcome, inviting me to join him under a canopy of vines.
He talks of hardship and sadness for all those that have
died, he talks of the mines we hear exploding in the distance,
but mostly he talks of sowing seeds again with a smile.
-- by Steve McKennon - 11/4/02