Books

‘I Tried To Contact You During The War’: Poems By Palestinian Novelist Ahlam Bsharat

Ahlam Bsharat is a Palestinian novelist, poet, children’s author and creative writing teacher.

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Liberation Day Artwork by Amjed Al-Siyabi
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To Fatina Al-Ghara, Heba Al-Agha, and Fidaa Ziad

I am almost certain that the three of you are behind the communication cut-off
between Gaza and the outside world
I look at those three hearts
And I know that they wanted to
-War after war-
Removing the frame from the image of war.
Now look at what the three of you did
There is a war going on in Gaza outside the picture
This war is angry
Unruly
This war is senseless
It has no heart since the eternity
It has no eyes now
That’s why she fumbled with her hands in Khan Yunis
Dair Al Balah
Gaza beach

Jabalia in the north

Al-Nuseirat is in the middle
Rafah in the south
I gouged out three eyes of war
I know now that this is not the time to spoil you.
But the most appropriate time to be spoiled is when in pain
Could you please tie my arm, this crazy one, to the tree
of shadows?
The anchors holding its hair were thrown into
the White Sea
Opening her stomach
Let this fire go out
Then, bring again the communication,
Maybe the outside world will see
What we saw 76 years ago,
What lies in the belly of war
We know and they don’t  
Or do they know it and deny it?

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To Othman Hussein

What are you doing now?
How do you entertain yourself, my friend?
Do you watch the children playing in the neighborhood?
And call out to them:
Come back quickly
So they come back fast
Faster than bullets?
Does Bahia read your poetry ?
Do you know,
I want to know what Bahia chose to read to you
Or what did you choose for Bahiya to listen to?
This will never stop the war
You and I know very well
That poetry does not stop war
This is only a message between two hearts
At the time of communication’s cut off  

(Translated by Rabahi Chahrazad)

Ahlam Bsharat is a Palestinian novelist, poet, children’s author, and creative writing teacher. She grew up at Tammun, a village in Northern Palestine and lives in Ramallah. Her books translated into English include 'Ismee Alharakee Farasha (Code Name: Butterfly)' and 'Ashjaar lil-Naas al-Ghaa’ibeen (Trees for the Absentees)'.

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(Rabahi Chahrazad is an Algerian Forensic Doctor at the University Hospital of Blida-Algeria)

(This appeared in the print as 'I Tried To Contact You During The War')

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