Highway of Death

This month’s poem, by Selwyn Morgan, is based on his memories of Al-Jahra in Kuwait in the Seventies. In 1991, during the Kuwait War, Al-Jahra Ridge and Highway 80 became famous for their scenes of destruction. 

Selwyn said, ‘I lived in Kuwait City. At weekends, Friday and Saturdays in the Middle East, I would often visit the desert that surrounds the Arabian Gulf. Al-Jahra, west of the city, was one of my favourite places. It sat on Highway 80, leading to the Iraq border. The flat desert plain met a 20m tall ridge, impressive in the otherwise monotonous landscape.

‘Over the millennia, the edge of the ridge was forged into canyons by flash floods caused by the occasional torrential rain. Twice a year, I stood in those canyons so as to be unseen by Steppe Eagles that migrated, north in spring, and south in autumn. I would observe a continuous stream of birds approach the ridge and use the thermals created from it to soar upwards until almost lost to sight. They had gained height so as to glide effortlessly onwards on their chosen path.’    You can read Selwyn’s poem here.

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