Poetry

As Lebanon Dies

D.H. Melhem (1925-2013)

my background is Lebanese
and peaceful, I said
proud of redundancy
grandmother beirut
grandfather damascus
my father tripoli
on the clear coast, a boy
diving for sea urchins
now the tides cast

My Friend

Buland al-Haydari

My friend,
Why don’t you take your past with you and
Leave my path?
We have finished, ended,
And we remembered much, and forgot much.
With our own hands we cast away
All the deep love we carefully guarded
All that we guard in distant past:

The Compulsory Reasons

Mohammed al-Maghout

Whenever freedom rained down anywhere in the world,
Arab regimes rush out to cover their people with umbrellas,
fearing that they would "catch cold."

Why would the Arabs appear to cling to everything and anything?
Are they about to drown?

Were you my Friend?

Buland al-Haydari

Were you my Friend? One of the major themes in his poetry is his exile, or rather his self-exile. The coup d'etat of 1963 and subsequent events forced hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi intellectuals, writers, poets, and artists to seek refuge elsewhere. Today, they are spread out in all five continents. This dispersal of Iraqi intellectuals has been aptly termed the "Iraqi diaspora." The fact that al-Haydari lived almost half of his life in exile affected his poetry in a very significant way. In a poem entitled Were You my Friend?, he wrote:

A Vision

Saadi Youssef

This Iraq will reach the ends of the graveyard.
It will bury its sons in open country
Generation after generation,
And it will forgive its despot…
It will not be the Iraq that once held the name.
And the larks will not sing.
So walk – if you wish – a long time.

Tashriqa

"Prayer for Homs"
Faraj Bayrakdar

 

 

 

I will come to Homs shortly,
I will enter it safely,
protected by its people and
my faith in them.
For almost twenty years
of absence, obsession and delusion.
for twenty years
abandoned at its crossroads

"Quick Bread"

Hashem Shafik

The planes bombarded the bakeries
next
the wheat was martyred
then the bread died.
What troubled person 
is chasing the dough?  
In what province, what country
could flour become a fugitive

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