Because of the War

It is an immense pleasure to introduce this month’s poet Aziz Dixon. We first met, just a few years ago, on a writing day with Peter Sansom of the Poetry Business. I immediately admired the economy of his poems: a great deal is expressed through some well-chosen words. Much is unsaid, between the lines.


Aziz has been published in The Curlew, Moon Magazine,  Panoply and Perspectives (Ontario), The Fat Damsel and The North). His collection North Wales Pilgrim is available on Amazon. His work featured in Best of Bolton, November 2017 and Burnley Creative, September 2019.


Early June Aziz launched his poetry collection Because of the War, published by https://www.maytreepress.co.uk. The stunning cover photo Remembrance is by Ian Ladbrooke. Here are the title poem and four other poems, reflecting on different aspects of war.

Because of the War


On holiday none of them liked us.
I was seven when I found out.
When we open our mouths
they hear screams,

my father said,
because of the war.

Now I know what they did,
my people to yours. You reach
across the toast crumbs,
catch my eye. 
We share today, you say,
because of the war.

Metro

The metro runs from Aleppo
to Bury. Bullets for breakfast
pepper the door. She glimpses

the hills beyond, snow
but no mountains here. Market
on Thursdays, but the souk

has been razed. Already
her children have friends,
speak English, except

in their dreams. She screams
less often at night, but
still he calls out to her.

One day they will need her less,
but she will not see him again,
on the metro, in Aleppo, or bury him.

Tuzla

Coal smoke thickens the sunset,
shrouds the dank park where
this bright morning she garlanded

her only son. Each day
he dies to her
these twenty-three years.

Maybe tonight it will rain,
dissolve at the edges
the bomb blasts inside,

wash from this salt-spa town
another speck of history,
twenty-four hours of pain.

(The poem refers to the cemetery for young people killed by shellfire in a square at the start of the Serb attacks on the Bosnian town.)

Veteran in the gallery
after Under Windsor Bridge on the Irwell, Manchester, by Adolphe Valette
Manchester Art Gallery

Under the bridge in fog
you stood, but could not see
your face in the dead canal.

Back from the front, you hung
in a painting one floor up;
but today I met your eyes

where you slump on the street
on a bed of card, with a cup
for coins, and I saw

the battle paint you grey
like the desert at dusk
when life and the sun drained away.

Geese come home
Ty Newydd

Geese flood east above a walnut tree,
their haunting caught in a spider’s web
spun on the autumn leaves. The migrants’ cry

echoes from this Mediterranean tree
on a buffeted Celtic shore. Mountain-love,
dawn-blessed shapes rise misted out of the sea,

and my heart goes out to those who flee
with no imprint spelling sanctuary.

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