Arwad, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon and fabled Tyre,
They’re ports along the Mediterranean East,
That three millennia ago did explore and aspire
With Baal, their god, to trade to earth’s far ends at least.

So timber, tin and trinkets, purple cloth and gold,
Glass flasks of sweet perfume, amphorae full of wine,
Whatever pleased a taste or met a need they sold,
Their drinking bowls bewitched, their ivory work was fine.

To Greeks they’re Phoenicians, blind Homer gave them fame,
But to no nation bound, they praised their city’s name.
Defeated much in war, their towns and cities burnt,
We know not much of them or how their glory’s earnt.
So gird your loins and tightly tie your cloak and boots
And join our journey ‘long the old Phoenician trading routes.

This poem is taken from The Phoenician Sonnets, a book by Stephen Stockwell which will be officially launched at 3 pm, 29 July. BOOK HERE

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