From Sarajevo, He played on…


Surrendering himself to the Sun,

Now gleaming through craters in the temple of Bosnian literature,

Balancing his cello on one those bombed blocks of Austro-Hungarian history,

He played on…

A graveyard resembling the grandeur of Moorish-Mamluk architecture,

A graveyard of 3000 manuscripts, 6000 periodic titles,

Of evidence against Bosnia’s multi-ethnic history,

On the heap of charred Orientalist Pseudo-Moorish remains,

He played on…

Out of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra,

Affected by the sight of mortar-shell grasping twenty-two souls at a go,

Innocents of Sarajevo, waiting for relief, food and nowhere to go,

Shell-shocked, from the annihilated National Library of Bosnia,

He played on…

Sarajevo was torn apart,

Cleansed of its inherent Muslims,

On tunes of his cello, destruction danced ceaselessly, for twenty days,

He played on…

Flames reflected on his cello’s shiny ebony,

On it shone, both faces of man,

While one sunk in notes of melancholy,

The other was sunk in war, sunk in gore,

On tunes of the cellist, rolled on the carnage, it sought harmony,

Seated up against snipers,

He played on…

He played on to mourn his loves ones,

He played on for you to take notice,

He played on for Sarajevo’s future,

As if serving a uniform live funeral to thousands of his unfortunate countrymen,

He played on…


(Based on Vedran Smailović’s performance from the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Siege of Sarajevo’1992 ; Steven Galloway’s ‘The Cellist of Sarajevo’)