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A New Love/ An Aching Stone: a Treatise on Peace in the Middle East.


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: A New Love/ An Aching Stone

Author: Pete Smith

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2016

Pages: 27


“Poetry and beauty are always making peace.
When you read something beautiful you find
coexistence; it breaks walls down.”
- Mahmoud Darwish

“Tongues die like people, other tongues come to life,
Gods in the sky change, gods come and go.
Prayers remain for ever.”
- Yehuda Amichai


This fantastical long poem is a double-cento comprised of the works of Yehuda Amichai, an Israeli Poet born in Germany after W.W. I and emigrating to Israel & Mahmoud Darwish, considered the National Poet of Palestine born in Al-Birwa in 1941. Both Poets are born in and writing in the tumult and violence of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, both poets are internationally acclaimed poets for peace. A cento is a form of poetry that rewrites the works of one or more poets, all the lines of poetry are rearranged to form a new entity, a new poem. The term “canto” is derived from the Latin “cantus” or a song and “canere” to sing. The “canto” is a major division of an epic or long narrative poem and is considered a form of protest since ancient Roman times. A New Love/ An Aching Stone is an ingenious weave of the works of both Poets, Poet Amichai and Poet Darwish, creating a serenade of prayers for peace, a protest against war and broken love relationships. Pete Smith is a Poet/Writer born in England, emigrating to British Columbia. He has had his work widely published online and internationally and has written a book, Bindings and Discords (2015) and this is his second Chapbook to be published with above/ground press.

A Middle Eastern song for peace, in love, that flies high, up in the spires of the cathedral, a yearning for the peace of love in dance in this life. The lines, like the lines of a psalm are expertly woven, one set of lines from Poet Amichai and one set of lines from Poet Darwish, culminating in a brilliant post-modern protest of epic and dance.

“Let’s go as we are:

wills patched with many patches

and my song needs to breathe: poetry isn’t poetry

because of the wall.

Which exile do you want?


If the west wind does not come

on time, a feminine moon to fill the poem’s

sighs out of a purple dream. A wind brings smells

in your lilac night, I am he who was one day

forced to see the injustice among the thorns,”

An elegant weave of short lines in the post-modernist style, without rhyme. Nature imagery, war themes, Biblical allusions, Greek/Roman mythology are classicism laced with the designs of beauty in violent places of without.

“and only echo replies

“Perhaps I’ve been here once before,

the road of invaders who want to renovate their history,

make again a new love

over an aching stone.”

The canto moves as if a conversation with a prospective lover, perhaps a love affair that cannot last, the history of without, the currents of yearning, the exile. This cento is the presentation of the dialectic of the iconic lover, a universal theme, the broken love affair is also the war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the background. And in the heat of tension the sorrow and the calling of the Spirit back to karmic purity, true love and peace. The tension of the work builds in dueling songs, rises to climax, perhaps in the consummation of a love affair:

“But at dawn, with first light,

out of the frivolity of no-shape

savage memories

after making love . . . “


                        “a salty perfume,

cake smells from inside the ruin,

put the letters with the letters for words to be born,

prophesied into the firmament of your flesh.”

only to find himself alone, sitting in an “abandoned theatre”, the conclusion of the love affair/the war hangs in the balance. The suffering is grave. There is a diaspora of love and death within grave misery, playing into the lucid imagery, songs in their mythos that pray for the end of war and the continuation of love. As if the peace of the homeland, the peace of love, happily ever after, is beyond the grasp, something that sees the Poet's outside dreaming, the poetry offering in concert with the Holy Spirit. A fantastical feast of sites and sounds Middle Eastern, a fantastical protest of war and violence, the double-cento, A New Love/ An Aching Stone featuring Israeli Poet Yehuda Amichai and Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish, created and presented by British Canadian Poet Pete Smith and above/ground press.

Available @ above/ground press.

Genre: Poetry, New Age





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