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.  


  1. This is a fantastic poem. It touched me immensely. Goodness! Behind that innocent looking words, the poet has packed pathos and ugliness of warfare.

    Can I use this poem for my blog, a translation of world's best poetry into Telugu and vice versa.

    1. Dear Murthy . You can do it with proper credits ...PGR

    2. Thank you Mr Nair.
      Here is the post with due credits.
      Thank you and the wonderful Palestinian poet Ashrawi
      You may kindly advise me if there are any errors of omission and commission in my blog.
      Thank you once again.