Poems | Abul Kalam Azad

Abu Malik al-Shami
Source : http://www.bbc.com

An Elegy for Aleppo


Pollen with clots of chlorine
on streets scarred by footsteps
ending far from where they started

Puddles of rocks
that once were homes
pounded into sooty fragments

like dusty phlegm
fired from the septum of the sky
shaped like a Russian warhead

Blood covers the last words
in the pages of a starving diary
like the only metaphor left alive in this silence

An almost torn foot
holds on with its final nerves
to the wounded leg of a weeping child

A woman on the summit of death
scans the burnt neighborhood
for the inventory of a short-lived farewell

From the loose strings
in the green Qanun of Noori
to the wedding ring
on Nizar’s severed finger

Memories of a redacted past
slowly decay beneath
the eyelids of an exiled future

A thirsty old man
talks to the blurry skies,
shrieking in the empty lanes,

“I won't leave! I won't leave!” ,
throwing stones
at the shielded stars

Smoke from the crowded hospital
barrel-bombed by the ruler's thumb
swirls around his head like a wreath

Leaflets coughed up by armed clouds
land on the parted lips of prolonged hunger
like epitaphs for graves never to be built
“...you know that everyone has given up on you…”


a city too small for the world's memory

a blot on every breath
of this frozen globe

a blot as thick as the tears
of a wiped people

the lament of a besieged bird,
its wings stuffed with mortar feathers

whose poets sing
the fugues of death

“Where once was a city, 
 now remains a residue

 Where once was a story, 
 now buried an elegy”

Ashes​ ​of​ ​Rain  

Russian​ ​syllables​ ​still​ ​haunt
the​ ​solitude​ ​of​ ​Syrian​ ​skies

Persian​ ​bayonets​ ​still​ ​block
the​ ​passage​ ​of​ ​homeless​ ​sonnets

Smoke​ ​from​ ​bombed​ ​hospitals
dissolves​ ​softly,​ ​without​ ​a​ ​sigh,

through​ ​the​ ​frozen​ ​nights
of​ ​the​ ​naked​ ​globe

into​ ​that​ ​widening​ ​gyre
where​ ​silence​ ​submits​ ​to​ ​despair

Death​ ​swings​ ​from​ ​pupil​ ​to​ ​pupil
inside​ ​the​ ​squinting​ ​eyes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​executioner

Like​ ​the​ ​steps​ ​of​ ​a​ ​dystopic​ ​ladder
the​ ​departed​ ​lie​ ​on​ ​a​ ​betrayed​ ​soil

within​ ​reach​ ​of​ ​their​ ​dreams,
and​ ​epitaphs,

both​ ​redacted,
with​ ​bullets

Starving​ ​men​ ​tumble
through​ ​the​ ​evacuated​ ​streets

looking​ ​for​ ​letters
to​ ​fill​ ​the​ ​obscenities​ ​on​ ​hungry​ ​tongues

Lovers​ ​huddle​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corners
of​ ​their​ ​crumbling​ ​hearts

holding​ ​with​ ​all​ ​the​ ​strength
in​ ​their​ ​scalded​ ​eyelids

the​ ​receding​ ​whispers
on​ ​beloved’s​ ​lips

Fathers​ ​pray​ ​frantically
to​ ​faraway​ ​gods

as​ ​infants​ ​gasp
in​ ​the​ ​arms​ ​of​ ​a​ ​helpless​ ​nurse

An​ ​young​ ​man,
blood​ ​dripping​ ​from​ ​his​ ​strained​ ​muscles,
drags​ ​his​ ​grandmother's​ ​corpse
on​ ​a​ ​creaky​ ​wheelbarrow
to​ ​that​ ​sacred​ ​graveyard

‘​ ​​angels​ ​visit  
​ ​on​ ​moonless​ ​midnights 
​ ​to​ ​heal​ ​the​ ​horrors  
​ ​trapped​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hearts  
​ ​of​ ​haggard​ ​spirits​ ​’ 

passing​ ​by​ ​the​ ​wounded​ ​postman
deaf​ ​with​ ​the​ ​buzz​ ​of​ ​soaring​ ​planes,
that​ ​chant​ ​the​ ​Ruler's​ ​name,
reading​ ​aloud​ ​all​ ​the​ ​letters
he​ ​couldn't​ ​deliver

The​ ​night​ ​descends​ ​early,
the​ ​dying​ ​refuse​ ​to​ ​leave​ ​their​ ​land

Clouds​ ​crack
as​ ​if​ ​stung​ ​by​ ​the​ ​hammer
of​ ​an​ ​angry​ ​sun


The​ ​bombs​ ​pause​ ​in​ ​flight,
the​ ​raindrops​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​the​ ​shattered​ ​domes
of​ ​gutted​ ​mosques

People​ ​rush​ ​onto​ ​the​ ​moist​ ​lanes,
some​ ​kneel,​ ​others​ ​gaze,
in​ ​sorrow​ ​and​ ​rage

their​ ​eyes​ ​raised,
without​ ​a​ ​flicker,
to​ ​the​ ​spotless​ ​sky

their​ ​fists​ ​full,
of​ ​ashes,

from​ ​bonds​ ​burnt​ ​alive

all​ ​of​ ​them,
at​ ​once,
open​ ​their​ ​palms
to​ ​this​ ​witness​ ​of​ ​war 

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