The Iraqi Dowry

How long would this eternal sea and everlasting dream
In your eyes prevent me from sleep?
How long would the years of separation and longing
Swing me?
Thousands years have passed
And I still stand on those remote shores.
Sometimes I wake up with a start,
Other times I fall into a slumber.
It is the oasis of your love I write about
But my sorrow is too deep
For my lines to hold or keep.
If I came back shrouded in lilies
And splendidly bleeding
Don’t cry and wail over my bier
If the blood flew from my lung,
My hand cut off, an eye or ear.
I’m not dead mother,
But I have returned from the longing of advance
At a night which knows no fears.
Don’t cry
Your eyes were my sails and hut
Let them, mother, bandage my cut.
In the front lines
I recollected your face
I grave it as a poem on the hammer of my gun
On the shelter, my eyelashes and the sun.
We were ten in the east of Basrah,
Our ditch was an open casement
We conglomerated under the lighting of flares…
Fatigue slapped me.
My arteries were violently beating
And my shadow was swinging –
Your face came through the wilderness of night
I couldn’t recognize it immediately
For the world became a bundle of longing and melancholy
In a ditch.
How would one know
If it were the same face
Or it were the same beat?
When one is surrounded by thousand years
And thousands of feet isolated in a corner,
In the womb of loss: a piece of meat!
In a moment of passion,
They killed me.
I caught my wound
And no longer heard the shots
Or the cracking and rumbling of the tanks.
But your voice, mother, is coming from the depth of my wound.
I felt you embracing me as warmth
But the bullet burnt and consumed my ribs.
It crept and crept as an eternal bleeding in my arteries.
Give me your hands…shot of a sniper paralyzed me.
I hear your voice: Akram..Akram
So sweet and kind.
But the shot, mother, was blind.
Cry out mother, but lull me to sleep
With songs of victory and a love so deep.

Azher S Saleh

Azher S Saleh's picture

A professor of English Literature, Mosul University, Iraq., He has been writing poetry since 1970., He has written more than 200 poems.

Last updated May 09, 2019