Featured Poem

Two poems


Within me, a butterfly’s strength
and a bull’s weakness
I have the mountains’ joy
and a spider-web’s solidity
the din of ants’ feet
and the sea’s silence
I have the death-in-life in a cocoon
and the life-in-death of passers-by
the green of autumn leaves
and the grass gone yellow in March
and I have July, the month of Tammuz
who will not return in July
among the days, within me, that moment
when the heart claims its eternal rest
so that everything ends
and there begins within me
what has not yet begun
to begin

For Lana Sadiq

On her face, all exiles,
all the roads opened to refugees.
Her face is an olive grove in Haifa and an orange orchard in Jaffa
and West Bank fig trees, and prickly pears from Galilee.
The dove lives in her eyes with the flash of stones thrown by children.
On her lips, the smile of the first daisy opening on the foothills,
and the first tent pitched for refugees, and the first orange dried out by bullets
and the first anemones budding
on bodies of the first butterflies fallen to earth here, south of us.
In exile, she searches for her children, to bring them back to her.
I didn’t say to her: I am like you, a mother too, at the impossible road’s beginning
Like you, I’ll pace those paths, back and forth, to find my children.
Perhaps one day we’ll return together.
And what have I gained, and what have I lost?
And what have I done, Father? My brothers don’t love me
And don’t want me among them.
What victory there for us, what victory for them?

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About the translation:
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Fadwa Souleiman
Marilyn Hacker
Original language:
2017 Number 2 - A Blossom Shroud

About the author

Original poet

Fadwa Souleiman

FADWA SOULEIMAN was born in Aleppo. She graduated from the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts in Damascus. She has been a tele...

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Marilyn Hacker


Marilyn Hacker

Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, including Names (Norton, 2009), Essays on Departure (Carcanet Press, UK...

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