City By The Sea – a poem by Stuart Rees inspired by the play Tales of a City by the Sea

I was compelled by Samah’s Tales of a City by the Sea – so beautifully acted, so stunningly presented – to scribble this poem as tribute and reminder of a piercing piece of history placed on stage. The tenacity and courage of the people of Gaza stands in total contrast to the cruelties meted out by successive Israeli governments. Samah reminds us: the sea is the people’s salve, their loving a means of survival and a reminder to all who will ponder these ‘Tales’ to demand justice for all Palestinians.

City By The Sea

Transfusion beyond bombings

-whose noise as bombers dive,

to fulfil their bloody missions –

helps lovers stay alive,

tied up in their dilemmas

to flee, or risk and stay,

to kiss through every moment,

their adrenalin to say,

‘The ocean always tells us

of the salve that comes from thee,

tho’ waves may mutter only

the hope they give to me.

Life can remind of kindness

not death’s brutality,

lives may be lost in buildings,

yet generosity

still comes from endless motion,

-the sight, the sound, the sea –

which nurtures every struggle,

and is…..

life’s only certainty.’

Stuart Rees is Emeritus Professor, Australian academic and author. He is Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney in Australia.

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