Poems from Syria

So while the petty EU squabbles over how many thousands of refugees each country will take, millions in Syria have been killed, internally displaced, and forced to flee their homeland and lives – with no small thanks to US spurring on civil war there for its own selfish reasons.

Because poems are humanising, below are some poems from Syria.

Poem by Aref Akrez

A calming potion
may mask pain to grow
up inside us and fall
suddenly to reveal a dying soul.

When I am Overcome By Weakness
Written by Najat Abdul Samad / Translated by Ghada Alatrash

When I am overcome with weakness, I bandage my heart with a woman’s patience in adversity. I bandage it with the upright posture of a Syrian woman who is not bent by bereavement, poverty, or displacement as she rises from the banquets of death and carries on shepherding life’s rituals. She prepares for a creeping, ravenous winter and gathers the heavy firewood branches, stick by stick from the frigid wilderness. She does not cut a tree, does not steal, does not surrender her soul to weariness, does not ask anyone’s charity, does not fold with the load, and does not yield midway.

I bandage my heart with the determination of that boy they hit with an electric stick on his only kidney until he urinated blood. Yet he returned and walked in the next demonstration.

I bandage it with the steadiness of a child’s steps in the snow of a refugee camp, a child wearing a small black shoe on one foot and a large blue sandal on the other, wandering off and singing to butterflies flying in the sunny skies, butterflies and skies seen only by his eyes.

I bandage it with December’s frozen tree roots, trees that have sworn to blossom in March or April.

I bandage it with the voice of reason that was not affected by a proximate desolation.

I bandage it with veins whose warm blood has not yet been spilled on the surface of our sacred soil.

I bandage it with what was entrusted by our martyrs, with the conscience of the living, and with the image of a beautiful homeland envisioned by the eyes of the poor.

I bandage it with the outcry: “Death and not humiliation.”

By Marwa Katbi

soft white syrian jasmine blooms
and showers the land
where my mother lived diagonally
across the street from my father
its scent flutters delicately in the air
over sidewalks covered
in lopsided stone

we used to whisper
to one another
us sisters
insults about Assad
man who insists
he rule above
a country of graves
who chases
after the setting sun
our frightened young words
now storm
the country
while thousands of claps
echo in swollen alleyways
and the people will march
for all the days stolen from the dead

city that takes its time
the world is asking for your news
carrier of old memories
place where we used to
kick soccer balls
between passing cars
and race to buy snacks
from shop owner who insisted
we pay him back later
each time
is it true that your army is full of heartless killers?
daraa’s streets
are alive today with running voices
crowded with
live bodies
fighting tanks
live bodies
fighting bullets
lying lifeless on the ground
fighting Assad’s legitimacy
while others have
five more minutes
and run
I hear
some soldiers
are still switching sides

gun shots pop, pound
and heartbeats shudder
the old man’s camera
as he watches criminals
fire death
into the sky
and posts it online
after the explosion
the earth rattled
so they shouted:
“god is greater”
who built
this earth
to shake
showing bravery so dazzling
that casts its light over light from the sun

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