Watching the yellow-orange bangs sweep past me overhead, all along walking away from the fire in the sky.
Ahead….lay paths and ways yet to be unveiled, the further I go the darker it gets, as the sun sinks beneath the horizon.
Still curious,…I decide to go on.
Fields on the right of me and vineyards on the left of me, and up ahead hang overhead wires between metal monsters. As I pass underneath them, I pause for a moment and hear a loud buzzing sound, as if …to warn me to move along and not stay for too long…and so I go on.
What I was looking for was a sign or a street to tell me where I was and how far I had gone. On top a hill, just a bit further down the country road, I could see in the distance, lights from a distant village. Intrigued of what may lay there I went on into the ever darker path ahead. Finally I came to a crossroads and on the sign it said the name of the village.
I turned back and to my amazement there was still light in the sky. With my two faithful companions at hand we went back,…direction home. Daytime grew smaller and smaller as I stood watching the last of the daylight drain from the sky. Meanwhile, behind me more and more twinkling gems where unveiling themselves from the darkening heavens. Almost home, and the only light now that shines down from above is that of a sliver of moon,…
A layer of fog, worthy of London
though the city wasn’t.
I walked into it, hoping to be swallowed.
Though the night was set for horror,
street light slashed by tree branches
and every glow only making it harder to see
I was not scared.
There was nothing lurking in that darkness that could make my life more ordinary
and that was what I truly feared.
I am almost twenty-six
and I would rather face a dragon
than a life narrowed by envelopes with numbers
arriving in installments.
I followed the will-o-the-wisps
and willed they not be streetlamps
Thinking how Irish legends moved between worlds
I splashed in the puddles; no avail.
Last night an owl landed in my path and looked at me
its kill – a young hawk – in its talons.
I wanted it so much to be a sign
of – anything.
As invisible as I try to melt
I still pass a cafe, face a glimpse –
and my life twists up in my stomach, reminding me
I can’t escape that way for long.
I know I’ll never take up space
even in your peripheral vision
Perhaps block and reflect the light,
but because of the laws of physics, and nothing more
and even those are bent by the mind
Instead I will invisibly watch,
non-existent, by your estimation,
and yet still be here
The paradox may be enough amusement to sustain me
and anyway when we both turn
I’ll be utterly unprepared for that darkness;
all the better for it
Still I’ll read your letters to her
and you’d be shocked at the intrusion, though they are silently public
on that anonymous yawp above the rooftops, drowned out by the
screams of so many others
vying to be heard
for fear of what rises from below
Whether flood or hellfire, or nothing at all; who dares look back to see
Dancing on your edges, I pause to wonder who has been on mine
It’s too late to look back, but maybe
a glimpse in my eye’s corners
was enough for them to be remembered
Every broke-off piece of a street-sung song
Every lit window I’ve ever looked through
Every wrong coffee order pushed across the counter
Every study into a staring eye
I’ll ask them
My enemies surrounded me from all sides
I was frozen like a marble pillar
When they looked at me I couldn’t move or speak
I looked around but didn’t find anyone
Trembling like leaves in windy autumn
I called on your name “LORD”
In my trouble I begged to see your face
I asked you to be a buckler so as to hide behind it
And my fortress that would never be destroyed
Reach out your hands and save me, I pleaded.
They directed their weapons on me
And made arrogant by weapons that kill human
They forgot the power of God
They mocked at me because you are my God
I couldn’t hear or see anything; I lost my senses because of fear
They shouted at me but my heart kept repeating your name “LORD”.
Then you heard my prayer
You released me from their claws
You raised me on the hands of angels
And took me back to home safely
Nobody believed what you had done for me
Because their hearts were like stone
They didn’t know who you are.
What is impossible for God?
What is it he can’t do?
His mighty hands were with me
The LORD didn’t leave me or forget me
He listened to me because he knows the mysteries of my heart
He is the balm of my body and soul
I want to glorify you my LORD
Because nobody is like you
You save your beloved people from difficulties
And protect them from the hands of the wicked people.
This poem had been published in “Nagim Al- Masriq”, magazine, 2011, (17) vol. 65.
The world is filled with hidden treasures; some go unnoticed by passersby on the street every day. On a late August evening I was exiting Roodebeek metro station in Brussels, about to follow a long, dismally dark-grey tunnel that led outside. Often, during weekdays, its dreariness was diluted by an old man who played Mozart and Bach on his well-worn violin. While ascending the steps, I would immediately recognize his music even before seeing him – it was always so pure, subtle and full of feeling. In these moments, I’d hurriedly dip my hand into my backpack and try to fish from its bottom any spare coins I could give to the old man. He would never let me leave empty-handed either, favoring me with a pile of fruit candy and a smile. Once we had exchanged gifts he would continue his expert playing, which could be as joyful as cracking laughter, or powerful as a sonorous thunderstorm.
I travelled to Ireland recently and it was there that I fell in love. I’d needed a holiday; Belgium’s studious atmosphere was becoming stifling. Boredom congealed in the libraries and the classrooms and I wanted nothing more than to escape over the horizon to some distant land. ‘I had made my song a coat,’ Yeats once proclaimed, ‘covered with embroideries, out of old mythologies from heel to throat.’ My own travellers coat had grown musty with misuse, made up of patchwork dreams stitched together with the clumsy weave of an amateur writer. But it was my coat all the same and I longed to throw it over my shoulders, feel its comforting weight upon my back, and search for creative inspiration, adventure and excitement. In my dreams I travelled frequently, and I wished to wander just as far in life. So I decided to go to Ireland with a group of good friends. And it was there that I fell in love.