Faleeha Hassan – Stalingrad

poet4Faleeha Hassan is a poet, teacher, editor, and writer born in Najaf, Iraq, who now lives in the United States. She is the first woman who wrote poetry for children in Iraq. She is leading poetic feminist movement in the holy city of Najaf. She got a master’s degree in Arabic literature, and published sixteen books. Her poems have been translated in English, Turkmen, Bolivian, Indian, French, Italian, German, Kurdish, Spain and Albania She has received many awards.


During moments I yearned for forests grown for me alone,
Caressing them in a dream,
I could sense the throbbing of the heart
Hidden beneath my ribs to bless my journey.
Summoning me with a pulse that he recognizes in me.
I heard the noise of abandoned smoke from a moment of care
Join with me,
Forcefully traversing desires to the hidden-most one.
My spirit swung toward him,
Creating a tingling
On lips that devour breaths alive.
I felt ashamed,
But the eye,
In moments—I scarcely know what to call them—that took me on another route
Toward the television, saw warplanes . . . spray death on them.
At that moment,
The fire of machine guns raked all the bodies,
And another fire raked my body when I trained my eye on him
Hesitantly inclining his head
Toward a shoulder unaccustomed to the secret of the stars of war
Or to insomnia.
Oh . . . . I leaned on it!
And when he caressed a dumbfounded person
I felt his fingers like coiling embers inside me.
Bashfulness seized the excuse this caress gave . . . and vanished,
Eliminating distance till the two of us were one.
And the eye—he moaned: May love not forgive her the eye—repeated another evasion
Toward a drizzle of men flung about in the air by just the rustling of a pilot penetrating a building
To fall on screens as the debris of breaking news.
But his breaths . . . shattering the still down of the cheek,
And turning their picture into mist as
Eddies of the screen’s corpses . . . varieties of death that they brought them.
The spirit that became a body,
The body that was sold for the sake of a touch,
The eye that was concealed in his image
And that approached the firebrand of conflagrations.
Everyone drawing close to everyone,
But the thunder of their machine guns splintered them:
Corpses piled on corpses,
I mean on me,
The eyes of those in it were extinguished.
They slept in a trench of silence.
My eyes’ lids parted in a wakefulness obsessed with them.
I rose … and embraced the chill
That the screens brought me in commemoration of Stalingrad.

Translated by William Hutchins

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