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Dead Are My People

Poem No.: 101 النص العربي: لا يوجد


Dead are my people

Gone are my people, but I exist yet,

Lamenting them in my solitude...

Dead are my friends, and in their Death my life is naught but great

Disaster.

The knolls of my country are submerged

By tears and blood, for my people and

My beloved are gone, and I am here

Living as I did when my people and my

Beloved were enjoying life and the

Bounty of life, and when the hills of

My country were blessed and engulfed

By the light of the sun.

***

My people died from hunger, and he who

Did not perish from starvation was

Butchered with the sword; and I am

Here in this distant land, roaming

Amongst a joyful people who sleep

Upon soft beds, and smile at the days

While the days smile upon them.

***

My people died a painful and shameful

Death, and here am I living in plenty

And in peace...This is deep tragedy

Ever-enacted upon the stage of my

Heart; few would care to witness this

Drama, for my people are as birds with

Broken wings, left behind the flock.

***

If I were hungry and living amid my

Famished people, and persecuted among

My oppressed countrymen, the burden

Of the black days would be lighter

Upon my restless dreams, and the

Obscurity of the night would be less

Dark before my hollow eyes and my

Crying heart and my wounded soul.

For he who shares with his people

Their sorrow and agony will feel a

Supreme comfort created only by

Suffering in sacrifice. And he will

Be at peace with himself when he dies

Innocent with his fellow innocents.

***

But I am not living with my hungry

And persecuted people who are walking

In the procession of death toward

Martyrdom...I am here beyond the

Broad seas living in the shadow of

Tranquillity, and in the sunshine of

Peace...I am afar from the pitiful

Arena and the distressed, and cannot

Be proud of ought, not even of my own

Tears.

***

What can an exiled son do for his

Starving people, and of what value

Unto them is the lamentation of an

Absent poet?

***

Were I an ear of corn grown in the earth

of my country, the hungry child would

Pluck me and remove with my kernels

The hand of Death form his soul. Were

I a ripe fruit in the gardens of my

Country, the starving women would

Gather me and sustain life. Were I

A bird flying the sky of my country,

My hungry brother would hunt me and

Remove with the flesh of my body the

Shadow of the grave from his body.

But, alas! I am not an ear of corn

Grown in the plains of Syria, nor a

Ripe fruit in the valleys of Lebanon;

This is my disaster, and this is my

Mute calamity which brings humiliation

Before my soul and before the phantoms

Of the night...This is the painful

Tragedy which tightens my tongue and

Pinions my arms and arrests me usurped

Of power and of will and of action.

This is the curse burned upon my

Forehead before God and man.

***

And oftentimes they say unto me,

"The disaster of your country is

But naught to calamity of the

World, and the tears and blood shed

By your people are as nothing to

The rivers of blood and tears

Pouring each day and night in the

Valleys and plains of the earth..."

***

Yes, but the death of my people is

A silent accusation; it is a crime

Conceived by the heads of the unseen serpents...

It is a Sceneless tragedy...And if my

People had attacked the despots

And oppressors and died rebels,

I would have said, "Dying for

Freedom is nobler than living in

The shadow of weak submission, for

He who embraces death with the sword

Of Truth in his hand will eternalize

With the Eternity of Truth, for Life

Is weaker than Death and Death is

Weaker than Truth.

***

If my nation had partaken in the war

Of all nations and had died in the

Field of battle, I would say that

The raging tempest had broken with

Its might the green branches; and

Strong death under the canopy of

The tempest is nobler than slow

Perishment in the arms of senility.

But there was no rescue from the

Closing jaws...My people dropped

And wept with the crying angels.

***

If an earthquake had torn my

Country asunder and the earth had

Engulfed my people into its bosom,

I would have said, "A great and

Mysterious law has been moved by

The will of divine force, and it

Would be pure madness if we frail

Mortals endeavoured to probe its

Deep secrets..."

But my people did not die as rebels;

They were not killed in the field

Of Battle; nor did the earthquake

Shatter my country and subdue them.

Death was their only rescuer, and

Starvation their only spoils.

***

My people died on the cross....

They died while their hands

stretched toward the East and West,

While the remnants of their eyes

Stared at the blackness of the

Firmament...They died silently,

For humanity had closed its ears

To their cry. They died because

They did not befriend their enemy.

They died because they loved their

Neighbours. They died because

They placed trust in all humanity.

They died because they did not

Oppress the oppressors. They died

Because they were the crushed

Flowers, and not the crushing feet.

They died because they were peace

Makers. They perished from hunger

In a land rich with milk and honey.

They died because monsters of

Hell arose and destroyed all that

Their fields grew, and devoured the

Last provisions in their bins....

They died because the vipers and

Sons of vipers spat out poison into

The space where the Holy Cedars and

The roses and the jasmine breathe

Their fragrance.

***

My people and your people, my Syrian

Brother, are dead....What can be

Done for those who are dying? Our

Lamentations will not satisfy their

Hunger, and our tears will not quench

Their thirst; what can we do to save

Them between the iron paws of

Hunger? My brother, the kindness

Which compels you to give a part of

Your life to any human who is in the

Shadow of losing his life is the only

Virtue which makes you worthy of the

Light of day and the peace of the

Night....Remember, my brother,

That the coin which you drop into

The withered hand stretching toward

You is the only golden chain that

Binds your rich heart to the

Loving heart of God.....

***


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