The Cellist. Poem by Jenean C. Gilstrap in honor of Vedran Vedran Smailović

The Cellist. Poem by Jenean C. Gilstrap in honor of Vedran Vedran Smailović
Jenean C Gilstrap
Vedran Smailovic playing in the destroyed building of the National Library in Sarajevo, 1992. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev

Vedran Smailovic playing in the destroyed building of the National Library in Sarajevo, 1992. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev

In the 1992 siege of Sarajevo, there was a professional musician – a cellist – who took his magnificent instrument and sat among the ruins of mortared buildings and played his music to honor the spirits lost in the rubble of war – most often Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor – during this time, he defied all odds and also played his music at funerals which were frequently targeted by snipers – in honor of Vedran Smailović and in the memory of those lost souls of Sarajevo, this piece is dedicated…

the cellist

cracked concrete souls
lost in the ether of generations
sit in idle devastation decried
by war riddled memories
amidst the ashes of history

sing Sarajevo sing

o broken bodies riddled
with bullets of hate of greed
piece now together in peace
your shattered dreams
your shaken world
your shredded hearts

sing Sarajevo sing

as overhead shafts of
hope and promise rain
down open portals of
mortar madness falling
upon fresh baked loaves
of bread

sing Sarajevo sing

return all ye displaced spirits
come home come home
bring your battered and
your beaten and your
broken back to the place
your bones are buried
beneath the rubble

sing Sarajevo sing

rest your weary heads upon
the pillars of the past and
the pillows of the future
lay you down upon the
bed of forgiveness as
darkness begets forgetting

sing Sarajevo sing

and i will play you a symphony
of empathy and sympathy
and i will play you a song
of love and of light here
where you belong

sing Sarajevo sing


View Comments (4)
  • always honored and humbled to be part of this wonderful magazine dedicated to the arts – such a magnificent forum for which all of us are so grateful – many thanks for your dedication and hard work – martin and isabel!

  • to Vedran Smailovic – wherever you are – words cannot express how deeply moved i am – we all are – by your courage and beauty and generosity of spirit – i can only hope that these words of mine in some small way do honor to those lost [and other] spirits so beautifully honored by you as you played your magnificent music – peace and love – jenean

  • Bob Smoke

    You know I love this Jenean! Feel as though I was caught up in the spirit as you wrote it1 Will always be special.

    • many thanks bob…and i was caught up in the spirit of this musician and his story and the stories of those lost spirits – still am – and so humbled to be able to speak these few words to honor him and all those for whom he played…

Jenean C Gilstrap

Since childhood, Ms. Gilstrap has had a love of words-of writing and other arts. An individualist, she chooses not to follow any pre-conceived pattern for the outlay of these words – rather, she allows them the freedom to forge their own path as they make their way from her heart to pen to paper. Her art work involves both photography and mixed media on large canvasses. She is a weekly featured poet in Yareah Magazine where her works have appeared for more than a year. Her piece The Granite God was the winning poem in Painted Bride Quarterly Sidebar #12 [2012]. Her work has been featured in performance poetry theatrical productions in Louisiana and her short story, Retribution, published in the Helicon Literary Magazine there. She and her gypsywomanworld blog are included as character/story elements in Ghost Key, the fictional work of award-winning author Trish MacGregor. Her first volume of poetry [2013], words unspoken, is available in both paperback and on kindle at amazon. She currently divides her time between her home in Louisiana and the east coast as she completes her second volume of poetry to be published in 2013.

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