Poetry | Birds Still Fly in Damascus by C. R. Tsiailis

Birds Still Fly in Damascus


The hum of the flaming helicopter


for the new hole of


falling on Al-Marjeh, Damascus central square.

The blow-up.

A flock of cuckoos fly

around and away.

Hiding from mediocre fate,

some high in the remaining cypresses,

some low under the wrecked rickshaws

they’d been nesting.


The bullets that constantly puncture

the walls of every standing building

digging to the inside

piercing the idle myth

Alas! The roofs they ignore,

it is where the sparrows have always nested,

each mother’s wings on her offspring’s hearing cavities

  • hoping-

this new generation will not have to bare this fear,

  • wishing –

somehow those men will respect her and cease fire.


At midnight the mayor’s house collapsing

on the corner house of the migrating lawyer

launching a flock of pigeons to the sky,

all dusted and wounded,

barely flying to keep up,

I’ve just grabbed a falling feather,

hoping it is white

but I’m just another blinded Oedipus

and I’ve just got married

to a mother called Battle


Birds, I once said, are still flying in Damascus.

Allow me to assure before I go.

  • But wait!-

This old eagle isn’t.

Sitting in his huge nest

on the water tower,

waiting for something to change,

he has no eggs to hatch,

he has no mouths to feed,

he just sits there,

wings open in dismay.

Thirsty, are you, my king?

Why won’t youdrink

from the deposit’s ajar door?

Or hungry, if I may ask?

Why won’t you just feast

on the vulnerable rats

as they follow the centrifugal urge

of this city to empty up? 

But if you are scared

why won’t you sneak late at dusk

to find a new home afar?


So quiet he is, an idle eagle,

a humble symbol,

of a dynasty ready to fall.


And now, full of days,

I am ready to draw my own conclusions

and partly disagree with my own allusion,

Some birds just can’t fly in Damascus




C. R. Tsiailis

Author C. R. Tsiailis was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1974. He is an English teacher but his passion for writing consumes most of his time, when he is not out training as a triathlete.

His publications include poems in literary magazines ‘ArtAdsence’, ‘Dianysma’ and ‘Rogmes’,  short stories in literary magazines ‘Parathyro’, ‘Fractal’ and ‘In Focus’, poems in the poetry Anthology ‘4th Team Poetry Anthology of Dianysma Publishing House’ andshort stories in anthologies ‘Athens this evening’, ‘To Epos TouFantastikou: Adiexodo’, ‘1st Cyprus Fiction Anthology: The Riverof Time’, ‘ParaxenoiErotes’ and haikus in ‘Diaspora Anthology’ in Australia.He has received numerous distinctions in Panhellenic literary contests for poems, short stories and theatre plays. He is the author of “Throwing Dice OnA Chessboard”, 2010,”The Green Divorce”, 2012, the sci-fi novel‘Klotho Surfaces’,April 2016 and the short story collection “ΨΩΜΙ (=bread)” 2017. He also writes articles, interviews of artists and book reviews for Literary Magazines in Greece. He is occasionally a member of Panhellenic literary contests’ committees.

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