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Syrian refugee poetry

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited March 11 in Arts & Writings

I came across some poetry today by a certain Ghayath Almadhoun, a Syrian refugee poet now living in Sweden, which touched me quite deeply. It brought home to me in a much more visceral sense the dangers of living in a war zone and being targeted by your own regime, maybe because I’m used to reading the likes of Rumi, a much more palatable type of poetry. Anyway, perhaps this will help bring a new perspective...

The Details
Ghayath Almadhoun

Do you know why people die when they are pierced by a bullet?
Because 70% of the human body is made up of water
Just as if you made a hole in a water tank.

Was it a random clash dancing at the head of the alley when I passed
Or was there a sniper watching me and counting my final steps?

Was it a stray bullet
Or was I a stray man even though I’m a third of a century old?

Is it friendly fire?
How can it be
When I’ve never made friends with fire in my life?

Do you think I got in the way of the bullet
Or it got in my way?
So how am I supposed to know when it’s passing and which way it will go?

Is an encounter with a bullet considered a crash in the conventional sense
Like what happens between two cars?
Will my body and my hard bones smash its ribs too
And cause its death?
Or will it survive?

Did it try to avoid me?
Was my body soft?
And did this little thing as small as a mulberry feel female in my maleness?

The sniper aimed at me without bothering to find out that I’m allergic to snipers’ bullets
And it’s an allergy of a most serious kind, and can be fatal.

The sniper didn’t ask my permission before he fired, an obvious example of the lack of civility that has become all too common these days.



  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    I know what you mean. I watched a documentary that followed a family of five in Seria. The youngest was a little girl. They lived in one of the besieged, urban areas, where her father fought against the regime. One day, before dying in combat, he got word to his family to leave immediately. They gathered some things and left their apartment. On the way out to a van, the little girl left a trail of Post-It notes, drawn with arrows, so her father could follow.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 11

    That’s endearing... but it’s only through the poetry that I get some idea of how grim it really was out there, with the warring factions and the civilians caught between. In a way you know that cameras are drawn to the worst incidents, but when poets speak of their own personal experience, that’s a different matter.

    It’s the experience and suffering of a generation of those people...

  • That’s an interesting poem, I like it very much. Thank you for sharing it, @Kerome <3

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I saw the poet on a tv program and I was quite impressed by both the poetry and his honesty towards himself and his friends... he wrote a poem called “I cannot come” about how he felt unable to join his friends in the resistance in Syria, who are now mostly all dead, and how he himself feels a coward for having fled the conflict. It touched me.

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    What began as protest has escalated into genocide. We'll see in the long run if "the pen is mightier than the sword."

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