Friday, September 30, 2016

From the Diary of an Almost-Four-Year –Old

From the Diary of an Almost-Four-Year –Old

By Hanan Mikha’il Ashrawi (Palestinian Poet)

Tomorrow, the bandages
will come off. I wonder
will I see half an orange,
half an apple, half my
mother's face
with my one remaining eye?

I did not see the bullet
but felt its pain
exploding in my head.
His image did not
vanish, the soldier
with a big gun, unsteady
hands, and look in
his eyes
I could not understand

I can see him so clearly
with my eyes closed,
it could be that inside our heads
we each have one spare set
of eyes
to make up for the ones we lose

Next month, on my birthday,
I'll have a brand new glass eye,
maybe things will look round
and fat in the middle—
I've gazed through all my marbles,
they made the world look strange.

I hear a nine-month old
has also lost an eye,
I wonder if my soldier
shot her too—a soldier
looking for little girls who
look him in the eye—
I’m old enough , almost four,
I've seen enough of life,
but she's just a baby
who didn't know any better.

Hanan Mikha’il Ashrawi is a prominent Palestinian academic, poet,  politician, and human rights activist. She became known worldwide for her efforts in Palestinian-Israeli negotiation toward peace.

Someone forwarded me an image of a Syrian girl shot in the eye and that is what triggered me to post this poem which I had read in an anthology of poems from the middle east titled ‘the flag of childhood’.

This is a touching, tender poem replete with moments of  artless innocence that shows the empathetic and mature  mindset of a  four-year-old child shot in the eye.  

Friday, September 2, 2016




I've come back to the country where I was happy 
changed. Passion puts no terrible strain on me now. 
I wonder what will take the place of desire. 
I could be the ghost of my own life returning 
to the places I lived best. Walking here and there, 
nodding when I see something I cared for deeply. 
Now I'm in my house listening to the owls calling 
and wondering if slowly I will take on flesh again.

Linda Gregg is one of the best American poets. As Joseph Brodsky, the Russian Nobel Laureate, described of her- “The blinding intensity of Ms. Gregg's lines stains the reader's psyche the way lightning or heartbreak do.” 

The theme of this poem is the return of an adult to the terrain where she lived a carefree and happy life. The reminders of them are all around. The only thing is that you are not the same person. You find yourself a devitalized apparition waiting for a rebirth.