Another Moon

A love poem for the month of Ramadan.

Another Moon

It was one of those moments
of infinite beauty:

The wind from the west,
and the unseen sea;

The sky as red
as it ever has been;

The mosque ablaze
in gold and green;

The Ramadan moon
a crisp silver line;

Yet it was another moon
which was on my mind.

Ode to a Palestinian Pomegranate

This poem was inspired by a visit to the ancient West Bank town of Sebastia at the end of last summer. For some reason, the memories only crystallised into words this morning!

Ode to a Palestinian Pomegranate

Red like ruptured, rotting flesh,
The Mediterranean sun swelled you,
Warmed you, and betrayed you
Over a whole summer:
Split your skin like a bullet
Spilling out your seeds, your life itself,
Small hearts broken again and again,
And sweet sticky juice
For the flies to feast on.

A bomb half-detonated
Bursting agony and love,
Like your country
Your name means death
Yet you taste of life.

Dance

CAM02610

My first new poem for a while! This was inspired by the spirit and rhythm of the Palestinian folk dance dabke (see picture.) It’s dedicated to all the dabke dancers out there!

Dance

Dance in the fields
Dance in the streets
Dance in happiness
Dance in grief
Dance for a birth
Dance for a death
Dance for a new day
Dance your last breath
Dance for a maiden
Dance for a crone
Dance for the sewing of the seed
Dance for a harvest of bones
Dance in peace
Dance in war
Dance in revolution
Dance of the poor
Dance in black
Dance in white
Dance in red and green
Dance for freedom
Dance in Filasteen.

Call Them Terrorists

This poem is partly a response to the killings of the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris on January 7th 2015. I am not supporting such actions; my point is, however, that before condemning the perpetrators as terrorists, we should take a look at the much greater acts of terror committed by western nations against majority-Islamic nations. For brevity, I stuck to three, but of course I could have continued with Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. etc.

For more information on the effects of depleted uranium weapons used by the USA against Iraq, see http://rt.com/news/iraq-depleted-uranium-health-394/

Occupy their lands
Promising their freedom
Draw a new map
Give it into foreign hands
Drive one million from their homes
Wipe their villages and towns
Into heaps of rubble and stones
And tell them to be happy
As the bombs you sold
Rain fire from the sky
And because of you
These innocents died
In Palestine.

Occupy their lands
And when they say, no more
Your weapons of war
Slaughter
Torture
Send one million
To their graves
So the integrity of your dying empire
Could be saved
In Algeria.

Occupy their lands
Bomb their cities
Into the ground
Create hate
Terror
Where there was none found
Take the oil
And in return leave a gift
In the water
In the ground
Cancer from your D.U.
So more children die from leukaemia
Than catch the flu
In Iraq.

When they come to your lands
Arrest them
Harass them
Send your spies into mosques
To watch them
Stir up mobs
To tell them not to show their face
To tell them that they have no place
In Europe
Then mock their God.

And call them terrorists.

Snow Falls

This poem was inspired by the snowfall in Palestine. It was written on the 8th January 2015.

Snow falls like a lover’s caress
Snow falls like Christ from the cross
Snow falls like clouds of tear gas.

Snow falls on the balad
As a solitary shepherd watches
Over hills and trees
Sleeping villages
Barbed wire and a wall
All as silent
As a grave.

Snow falls on Jerusalem
On every mosque
Church and temple
White blanket on domes
Of silver and gold
On the head of each child
Arab and Jew
Who will grow up to fight
The city screams
But for now
They are lost in their dreams.

Snow falls on the camps
White blanket on cement shacks
Each soft flake
Like each day, week, year
Passed since 1948
Melting into the next
As the people wonder
When they shall see home.

Snow falls on a guard tower
By the empty road
Alien and cold
Soldiers too far from home
They do not know
What they do
Guns aiming
Into the whirling storm.

Snow falls on the prison
For the ones inside
It was always cold
Just another day
White blanket on grey
Cannot blanket out
The pain.

Snow falls on blood
From the next kid shot
For throwing a stone
Because soldiers took away
Their home
White on red
Black for sorrow
Green for a shroud
Makes a flag to honour all
The dead.

Snow falls on Ramallah
Deserted Al-Manara
On the homes of the lovers, poets
Preachers and dreamers
Students and teachers
Resistance fighters and survivors
Who call this city home
On silent streets of shuttered shops
Cosy coffee houses and bars
On lines of abandoned rusting cars
In this city.

Snow falls on Birzeit
On an empty circus tent
On a silent church tower
On deserted university departments
Snow falls on my roof
And I dream
About you.

A Message

This poem brings together some of the people I have met, places I have been to and experiences I have had over the last couple of months. It was written on 7th January 2015.

It is impossible not to love in this land.

There is love in the very dust
Beneath your feet
Which embraced the feet
Of one hundred prophets
And one million pilgrims
Before you.

There is love in the domes of Al Quds
The gentle curve
Of a heart of gold
At the heart of the world
Loved with the love
Reserved for the lost.

There is love in falafel
Food for the soul
Half the size of your fist
And still fizzing with oil
As a heart can burst with love.

There is love in the grace of the white gazelle
As she picks her path
Past stones and thorns
Through the valley
Out of the shadows.

There is love in the tree
In Manger Square
A cone of lights as soft snow falls
And Fairuz sings talj talj
In a voice rich with love
And smoothed by sorrow.

There is love in the eyes of the mother
Looking down on the body
Of her child
Cold and broken
Schoolchild or fighter
It does not matter
For her
They are equal with the Messiah.

It is impossible not to hate in this land.

There is hate in the very sky
From which black bombs rain down
On Gaza
And hundreds then thousands
Die.

There is hate in the bombs
Shells and bullets
Colder even than the bodies
They will create
Stiller than the hearts
That will cease to beat.

There is hate in Hebron
City where two nations live
On top of each other
As prisoner and imprisoner
Al-Khalil, the friend
A city where friendship reached
An end.

There is hate in a stone
The last weapon left
Half the size of your fist
Thrown not to kill
Like their bombs
But with a message:
We exist.

Only when you know love
Only when you know hate
Do you exist.

Stones

This poem is about the beautiful old buildings, Ottoman and even older, which are falling into disrepair in the town of Birzeit and in other towns and cities around Palestine. It was written on the 16th of December 2014.

A stone can be thrown.
In your hands
A stone becomes a weapon
A geological AK Forty-Seven
Clutched in your fist
Your right to resist
And, like stones,
You, people, persist.

But a stone can also be sown.
Like a seed
It will grow,
As a seed becomes a tree
A stone becomes a house
Becomes a home.

These stones have seen
More than tears can tell
They have stood
Through seventy years of hell
And still they stand
Beautiful,
Still they stand
Proud,
The homes of the people
Of this home land.

And yet –
You have left them
Forgotten
Stones crumbling and rotten,
And even history can die.
There are those who would,
To create a lie,
Destroy these homes
Tear them down
Return the stones into the ground.

So

Do not leave them
Do not forget them
Do not let them fall
After what they have withstood,
After everything,
After all.

Do not let these stones become your grave.