The Refugee

By Hanna Saadah

I leave with barren arms that used to bear
The fruits of life with young, unmindful air
I flee with years upon my heals and drought
Within my eyes; where do I go, oh where?

Of life I am a restless wandering breath
Romantic, final, intimate like death
Why do I shed my leaves in spring and waste
My ancient wine upon this heedless earth?

Cities are mourning, robed in smoky skies
I hear them coughing bombs and bloody cries
From heaps of pregnant rubble, quickening
With mothers’ arms and little children’s eyes.

But refugees can hardly mourn their dead
Too many die each day, nor home nor bread
While all the silent world sits watching
Justice of the bombs engulf the meek and spread.

I am the hunting thorn of truth they heed
The faith, the goal, the dream my people need
And I persist a sore upon their eyes
And more, a rose upon our tombs that bleed.

I will not hate, I love, I will not hate
I am the noble son of earth and fate
Nor will I yield to justice of the bombs
I am the patient truth and I can wait.

This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 18, no. 66

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