Monday, October 08, 2007


Given the realities of today’s Iraq, I cannot help but think about those who are left behind with much despair and misery after each explosion. Seriously, how do they deal with all of this? Is their any peaceful routine left in their daily lives? Have painful injuries and death become habits in their lives? Do they still like God? Do they have time to even mourn their loved ones’ death? Are they worried now that winter is arriving again? How did they deal with the heat of the summer days? How do they feel when they wake up in the morning? Are there serious similarities between the realities of their lives and their worst nightmares? I want to think that the people of Iraq still remain hopeful, as hope seems to be their only calming belonging in this world.

A few days ago I found an anthology called, “ Iraqi Poetry Today”. This collection contains Iraqi modern poetry in translation and is edited by Saadi Simawe. I am going to share with you one of these poems here. The poems in this collection are mostly from years before the current war. Some of these poems are really touching and bear much of the story of Iraq that is very closely tied with war, a brutal reality with which the Iraqi people have coexist throughout the past few decades. The following poem is written during the Iran-Iraq War. Let us all pray for Iraqi people to at last wake up to peaceful days.

An Iraqi Evening

by Yousif al-Sa’igh

Clips from the battlefield

in an Iraqi evening:

a peaceable home

two boys

preparing their homework

a little girl

absentmindedly drawing on scrap paper

funny pictures.

-breaking news coming shortly.

The entire house becomes ears

ten Iraqi eyes glued to the screen in frightened silence.

Smells mingle:

the smell of war

and the smell of just baked bread.

The mother raises her eyes to a photo on the wall


-May God protect you

and she begins preparing supper


and in her mind

clips float past of the battlefield

carefully selected for hope.

Translated by Saadi A Simawe, Ralph Savarese and Chuck Miller


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