bosnia report
New Series No: 19/20 October - December 2000
On seeing a photograph of Afan Ramic's dead son - poem
by Chris Agee

On seeing a photograph of Afan Ramic’s dead son

by Chris Agee

‘All these moments will be lost in time like tears in rain’ (from Blade Runner)

A new studio. And new work too, light and airy,

After the charred objet trouvé cross-beams and fiery black conflagrations

Of the siege pieces. A bridge, all creams and whites,


Ultramarine for the Neretva, a touch of terracotta.

At the table, jokingly, he tosses each of us an egg -

Unknown hardboiled. When he opens a new monograph


He’s a small prewar boy with his parents, then with a small boy

In summer shorts, aged five forever. As he thumbs on

I am still back with it - or rather, with the face transmogrified


To my own son’s. When I mention how sad it is

An eye-rim glistens like must on a summer grape.

A brush on the shoulder. Nothing more. We move on...


Sarajevo outskirts. Leaving again. Past Ilidza -

Its old Austrian tram sign in Roman and Cyrillic - lush midsummer

Bosnian verdure. O radiant day


Booming like the pink-bloomed light

Outside the flytrap window screen of my grandmother’s death-room!

Haycocks, maize, woodpiles, ruins, lavender;


Orchards, hill-meadows, an aqueduct, kiosks, turban-stones.

Jars of honey at roadside stalls. Blaze of alpine buttercup. How to bear up,

How go on, when the world’s refracted to a single tear?


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