As we arrived he welcomed us
offering orange juice and dates
to refresh us after the journey
and every time we passed
would ensure we had all
we needed. We would walk on
a harbour, lined with fishing boats,
and sit in cafes drinking coffee
as the heat rose and sand crept
in on the wind. We’d swim in the pool
and at night walk in the square
where fountains danced to changing colours.
A boy sold me a pedant, an old man
Two girls sat with us on a bus
and we chatted over coffee,
one wanted to be a doctor, the other
dreamed of going to Oxford.
The driver guided us round Carthage
knew the history of every stone.
We chatted to a couple from Bagdad
outside the mosque, swapped stories.
We would walk round the garden
to the sound of music wafting from the piano
bar where businessmen brought quiet wives
to eat sweet cake with dark coffee at 8.
All of them were just like us trying to
earn a living for families, had dreams
of success for their children.
I wonder what has become of them
since that peaceful April all has changed
the sand is stained with hate,
the blood of other ordinary people
who dreamed the same dreams.