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EDITOR'S NOTE: Chris Elliott, a technical writer from Cambridge and weekend trumpeter, has been sending us reports from his band's week-long gig in the Iraqi capital.

This is a poem he wrote on the plane leaving Amman, Jordan.


Cradle of civilization
What has become of your child
Has she been kidnapped
Has she been enslaved
Jewel of the Middle East
Rudely plucked from the crown
Infertile crescent
Of Tigris and Euphrates
The first to plant for future seasons
Seeds of life and hope
How bold among nomads
To be certain of tomorrow
Men of vengeance
Attempt to steer your ship of state
Fig and date, palm and camel
All in bondage
Shackled, mocked, humiliated
Iraq! I have seen your heart
In the eyes of your children
I have heard your spirit
In the voices of your elders
This peril will not stand
Usurpers rape the modern treasure
Trapped beneath your sand
I hear your music in the wind
That shapes your dunes
And bends your trees
I feel your righteousness
In the prayer rugs whose colored fibers
Crush beneath your knees
Hold, Mesopotamia
Believe, Baghdad and Mosul
Weep as you must, but don't despair
Arise again and claim your glory
Arise again and tell your story
Arise, Iraq

Chris Elliott and his trumpet.
Chris Elliott and his trumpet.