Saturday 20 March 2010


"If I meet an Israeli, I will tell him I am not a terrorist. I am Palestinian."
Amal, 9 years.

On a tiny strip of land,
miles you can count
on the fingers of your hand,
bombs are falling
to the rhythm of their own time.
They leave behind
nothing - only rubble;
if they could,
they would even take the sand.

In your mind,
run the fingers of your hand
through that sand,
sift through that sand.
Names lie in those grains,
of blood,
of brains -
the last remains
of the martyred ones,

whose hopes die young,
whose flesh remember pain,
who ask this question
time, and again,
“What did we do
to end this way?”
then plan their sweet revenge
on you.

I want to convince Amal of peace.
In dreams, I prevent your bloodshed;
but she will have to learn to live
with the shrapnel inside her head.

One day the bombs
will stop falling,
and the rivers
will overflow with fish,
and the guns that
little boys play with
will cease to exist,
will be exchanged
for gifts
of fishing rods, and binoculars,
to see beyond,
to dream beyond
the Gaza Strip.

Amal and her surviving brother, Mahmoud, amid the rubble of their home.

- Shaista Tayabali, 2010
shadow of the scarf, luke powell photography


mermaid gallery said...

so is an atrocity that children have that as their heritage. How do they escape?

RNSANE said...

Such a touching poem, Shaista. I wrote something similar long ago. How sad it is for children to grow up never knowing peace. What a toll it takes on them.

Lisa said...

We hear you Shaista and the ripples of your poem shall be a wave.

Wanda..... said...

Peace and personal freedom should be the way of life for all, especially children. The adults should be ashamed they haven't provided that, the senseless feuding of adults and countries is barbaric. Wish the world were accepting and forgiving!

Aayushi Mehta said...

very well written poem, and i like that atleast it ends on a positive note, showing that there is still hope for every child in those war-torn regions...

Maggie May said...

This is so sad and so touching.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

yes yes yes and thank you for reminding us all.

GlorV1 said... is one of my friends blog. Her name is Nicole and she also has Lupus. Just thought I would share this with you. Your poem was beautiful and a good reminder to us all. Just popped in from another friends blog. Have a great week. Take care Shaista.

Sara said...

I wish I could tell people how it feels like

A Cuban In London said...

This got to me in a way I wasn't expecting it. It's really powerful. It ought to be published. Please, submit to The New Statesman, or The New Yorker, or The Guardian Saturday Review. They're always publishing good poems like this.

'children,whose hopes die young whose flesh remember pain who ask this question time, and again, "What did we do to end this way?" then plan their sweet revenge on you.'

So true, so very true.

Greetings from London.

Unknown said...

Atrocities to live with and not knowing when it will all end. Such a beautiful poem.

Jo said...

Ohhhh... suffer the little children...

Have you seen a movie called "Lemon Tree"? It is such a beautiful movie.

My goodness you are a talented lady!

Kitty Moore said...

Beautifully written - I pray for peace and the end of suffering for the people. x

lupie said...

We are all the same, inside ...
If only the adults will look beyond the differences..

* said...

This is striking, horrible and beautiful all at once. Almost holy.

Thank you for it.

Ruth said...

I'm joining your prayer.

Your poem is powerful, and perfect.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Such a wonderful poem. May it all come true!

Laurie Kolp said...

This is beautiful. I wish for the same thing, too.

Claudia said...

oh wow...this is just awesome..

guns..will be exchanged
for gifts
of fishing rods, and binoculars,
to see beyond,
to dream beyond
the Gaza Strip...

i hope it will be like this one day, and amal has lots of wisdom for a 9 year old..

Brian Miller said...

wow this is such a powerful poem...i loved it...though it made me hurt a bit in thinking about it...nice grit...and you touched me...

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