A poem from last year for Khaled al-Asaad – the archaeologist and protector of Palmyra who was murdered by IS for not giving up his life’s work.

Also head over to for the song of the same title.



At what point can one say:

‘Preservation is complete’?

Which pitted surface smoothed?

Which sand-filled tomb exhumed?


At a closed junction

Between life and death

Man and bird wrestle

Above traffic lights. You are


No Zenobia

No Roman house arrest

In exchange for a life’s

Surrendered empire . And so


Finally you kneel,

A final thought for

Chipped faces off sarcophagi

Your final restoration




Still attached


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