Battleground

I was cleaning out some books and stumbled upon some short poems I wrote in 2015. Here is one of them! Scattered

Love will find you,

even if you’ve given up

on it.

 

It is, slowly,

starting to

creep on me.

 

I will hold my ground.

 

It shall not be

a battleground

of shattered hearts.

 

A.S.

2015

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Weary

I was cleaning out some books and stumbled upon some short poems I wrote in 2015. Here is one of them!Sacred

I am weary

Of being told not to be weary

Yet when I am at ease

I’m told to put my relaxation on freeze…

For there is much that calls my attention

So I am aware and go everywhere

Then I am told, as a friendly recommendation

To ease up a bit and take a vacation.

So I pack up for it only to be told

There are pressing matters here – put your plans on hold!

You can imagine how weary I get

When told not to be such

For when I take it light-heartedly,

It still seems to be too much!

~

A.S.

2015

 

Oh, Sweet Rain

I was cleaning out some books and stumbled upon some short poems I wrote in 2015. Here is one of them!

Near Land

Oh, sweet rain

Do what rain does…

Drown

                                  my needless worries away

Drench

my heart with gratitude throughout the day

Purify

                                                           my thoughts that from importance stray

Shower

upon me realisations of wise insights implanted

Let every droplet of water

                                  alert me to a blessing I have taken for granted

Oh sweet rain, in all that you do

Rain upon me what the merciful rain can do.

-A.S.

August 26, 2015

Courageous Decisions

Enjoying the View

Oh, to come to a decision
That was a weight on the chest…
Though there were very opposite options,
Each seemed both better and best…
Simply unable to focus on anything,
All thoughts between this dilemma pressed!

Both roads involving risks
But which risks are most worthy to take?
Shall I think mostly with my head and logic trust,
Or my heart to avoid facing a heartache?

After a painstakingly long time of thinking
Of how to see a clear-sky view behind these boulders
I finally came to a firm choice –
And what a mountain load off my shoulders!

I finally made a decision, and
It doesn’t matter if it’s the right one or wrong.
Ultimately I thought it out, I felt it strong
And now my spirit is dancing to its song.

Grand decisions require courage to accept risks,
But courage does not come easy, nor does sacrifice
Yet some mysteries cannot be revealed
Unless you’re willing to pay uncertainty as the price.

When you come to a decision,
Breathing becomes easier and lighter.
Spring’s fragrance of hope is more vivid.
Colours are mightier and brighter.

Oh, to come to a decision
That was a weight on the chest…
When you make a firm choice,
After thinking for so long,
You will only find out later if it truly was the best choice or not.
But at least you were being courageous all along.

A.S.
April 23/18

What Love Demands

Refreshing Red

Love demands time.

Love demands investing

lots,

lots,

lots of time in it.

Time you never even knew you had, until love demanded it.

 

Love demands patience.

Love demands persisting through

long,

long,

long years of fruitless attempts.

Experiences that would rob anyone of patience, except yours… because love demands patience.

 

Love demands deep breaths.

Love demands not running

way,

way,

way too far ahead at once.

So many conclusions to leap to, but love demands taking it one deep breath at a time.

 

Love demands sacrifice.

Love demands

sacrificing,

sacrificing,

sacrificing the notion that one’s ego is more sacred than another’s heart.

Cutting down on the “I, I, I”, and seeing the I in you.

 

Love demands shyness.

Love demands approaching another

cautiously,

cautiously,

cautiously, building up a strong friendship base.

Too shy to do or say anything that will knowingly make the other uncomfortable, because love demands shyness.

 

Love demands boldness.

Love demands

clearly,

clearly,

clearly saying what needs to be said.

Approaching real communication could seem like the edge of a cliff sometimes, but falling won’t happen if one remembers that love demands boldness.

 

Love demands courage.

Love demands peeling off the mask of nonchalance and being

real,

real,

real.

Having the courage to be vulnerable… because vulnerability is the courage that love demands.

 

Love demands laughter.

Love demands

abandoning,

abandoning,

abandoning artificial pretentious mannerisms.

Allowing the air to ripple with the sound waves of natural laughter is what love demands.

 

Love demands uncertainty.

Love demands

swimming,

swimming,

swimming ahead to a shore you cannot see but trust exists for you.

An island you have faith you will reach, walk on, live on… so you keep swimming towards the uncertainty until it fades away.

 

Love demands entering

temporary,

temporary,

temporary discomfort.

Out of your comfort zone are situations necessary for self-growth and permanent comfort.

 

Love demands a mystical combination of heart and mind.

Requiring

sincere,

sincere,

sincere heart faith and clear-headed logical thinking.

Not sweating the small down stuff while not underestimating the small up moments.

 

In a nutshell… to make a long story short…

Love,

Love,

love demands loving.

~~~~~~~

-A.S.

February 2018

Occupied Land, But Never Occupied Hearts

lights

I woke up to an unexpected text message earlier this week. It said, Don’t come into work today or tomorrow. Cancel all your classes. This is for security reasons, and to avoid clashes.

Well, I’d heard that the whole country was going under a brief strike, in protest to Trump’s announcement of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and his plans to move the U.S. Embassy there. So the order to not come into work was not totally unexpected. But for security reasons? What was dangerous in the situation?

A lot more than I realized. Here is my hastily-written experience, as a Canadian Palestinian presently and recently been living in Hebron for the time being.
Hanging Icicles

I’ve stayed home from work in Canada before, during a dangerous ice storm situation. But this, this was different. It had never been because my life – and more so, my teenage students’ lives – depended on it. I’d never been told to skip a day of normality as a response to petty words said by a pompous, destructive man in charge of another country across the world.

howmany3

But this is Palestine we’re talking about. I am no longer in more-predictably-safer Canada.

If I were in Canada, hearing the announcement, and watching the news of the sudden surge of unrest that it created, I’d be raving in rage at such an absurd announcement from someone who mistakenly thinks his opinion represents reality and justice. This announcement is not unique of its kind; time and time again, former American presidents have said it also. (And frankly, I couldn’t care less where the U.S. Embassy is located, just so long as it doesn’t have to demolish Palestinian native land in order to do so. Like the occupiers of the illegal settlements do all the time.)

Why aren’t I bursting with anger at the riots and killings that have ensued after the announcement? Because I’m here… in Palestine. And as a result, I see things differently, or at least I understand things differently. I see how “normal” and ordinary colonial violence is to the people here. If anything, I feel more sadness than anger. Is this what the world (especially the cowardly Arab world leaders who turn a blind eye) has decided is a fit state that Palestinians deserve to live in? In a state of constant fear, so much so that from a young age,  deadly fear is merely replaced with just matter-of-fact apprehension?

Here’s a really simple example to illustrate what I mean.

Today I set a date with one of my classes, a date to go outside as part of the curriculum to advocate for a classroom project campaign (healthy living). The original venue was supposed to be downtown, until a group of my male students advised me otherwise.

  • Miss, maybe we should do our advocacy somewhere more quiet, less crowded. I don’t want you to end up feeling bad if we go downtown, and then the Israeli military rounds us boys up.

My heart broke inside, knowing that over here, intelligent, compassionate and responsible 14-year old boys have to factor in ridiculous things when they go out, even when it’s a simple outing to distribute brochures and fruits to pedestrians. Having to factor things like, getting captured for no reason by soldiers, attacked by loosed military dogs, getting tangled in clashes on the way home. How is this allowed to happen? And why is it a normal part of their lives?

To make matters heavier, the boys speaking to me didn’t even seem frightened at the possibility of being taken away by the occupying force; they were more concerned about the guilt I’d feel if I brought them to a location that posed a threat (aka crowded with normal people) for this to happen. No teenager should live a life in which anticipated pain, separation from families, child imprisonment and silencing of peaceful protests is as normal as breathing.

howmany

Living through this with my homeland brothers and sisters, I would have thought my blood would be constantly boiling. Instead, I am just so tired of it all… and deeply saddened at the state of things that have been emptied of a once-bursting life.

Not too long ago, I visited the Old Town of Hebron. It is most well-known for the holy site called the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs), which has the tombs of the Prophets Ibrahim, Isaac, and Sara, among others. The Old Town is known to be full of checkpoints and settler activity, so I spent a few weeks asking around if it was “now safe” to go before me and my sister quietly went without informing anyone (knowing we’d be discouraged and avoid the area). So, off we went.

I was shocked when I went to the Old Town. The streets were eerily empty. Shop after shop was closed down on entire deserted market streets. Streets that used to bustle with love and life. With the deafening silence, I was painfully self-conscious of the loud sounds my slightly heeled shoes made upon hitting the ancient stone floor. It felt like a ghost time.

However, thankfully, it was safe”. We went into the Ibrahimi Mosque (as I frantically ignored the memory of how a shooting massacre had literally taken place by a Zionist in this room), quickly walked past a market tunnel on our way to find a taxi, and arrived home in one piece.

20171025_151713

That safety didn’t last. The day after we went, we heard how unrest spiralled up around the Ibrahimi Mosque. Shootings often happen around the area. And now, due to the latest string of events, I imagine it’s that much riskier to go. We haven’t visited again (which is unfortunate, since it’s less than a 10-minute drive away from where we live).

The Old Town has often been a hot site for danger due to violence imposed by settlers and shady checkpoints. The difficult situation for Palestinians living there doesn’t make it any more acceptable, but predictable, at least.

Now, because of some gibberish made from an orange-faced man, the whole country is in an uproar. From Bethlehem to Ramallah to Jerusalem to Hebron – you name it.

Some areas are hotter than others, but there are flames burning in hearts all over.

I wrote this post because a friend asked how I was feeling. And honestly? I don’t think it matters how I feel. All I know is… no child deserves to be born in a world where they can’t even get to school safely. Where going through checkpoints like a criminal is a daily occurrence. Where praying in a sacred mosque of historical significance is deemed unsafe, unsafe to prostrate your head to the ground…

howmany2

Such are some impacts of living in an occupied world. Occupied land, but never occupied minds and souls.

I’ll leave you, dear reader, to some powerful words written by Omar Suleiman which perfectly summarise my opinion on the whole thoughtless announcements:

howmany4

And God knows Best.

A.S.

Are There Really Any Words?

Wings

Words are a blessing,
That we use to express everything
But are words really enough?
~
Is there really a word to describe…
 ~
The longing that sweet memories cannot satisfy?
The heart-flying feeling under the umbrella of a blue sky?
The breaking sweet pain that holds the hand of healing?
The steady chaotic rhythm of events unfurling and swirling?
The melody of rising and slippery sliding hopes?
The recognition of metaphysical ropes and incredible power to cope?
The music of even anxiety, suspense, and naive expectation?
The new life breathed into one held hostage in a moment of inspiration?
The way one’s heart swells at the sounds of truth and recognition?
~
Oh, what can one really come to say
When there doesn’t seem to be a right way…
~
To describe —
longings, heart-flying feelings,
musics of states, inspiration and heart-swellings…
breaking sweet pain, chaotic steady rhythms, hope,
rising and falling melodies, and metaphysical ropes…
~
Are there really any words?
~
Romantic Red

 

And God knows Best.
A.S. (Dec.2, 2017)

Wordless Poetry

A Beautiful City

When you think of poetry, your mind drifts to paper

Paper with words artistically linked together by a writer…

But what if I were to declare that poetry can be wordless, too?

《》

Poetry is the wind’s sweet caresses on your cheeks through an open window

Poetry is allowing your inner positive energy to surge upwards and make you glow

《》

Poetry is the majestic standing of a white mosque’s pillars

Poetry is entering a new space and feeling like it’s somehow all familiar

《》

Poetry is the resilience-themed messages sprayed about with graffiti paint

Poetry is reading a soul-fulfilling book in a cozy coffeehouse so quaint

《》

Poetry is the quiet playing of Coldplay’s best songs against the backdrop of Ramallah’s streets

Poetry is you turning an empty canvas and acrylic paint into your own secret retreat

《》

Poetry is the plentiful “astaghfirullah” signs on orderly lined up palm trees

Poetry is the cheerful morning sounds of roosters and darling birdies

《》

Poetry is the waterfall-like effect of vines against rocky walls

Poetry is the sound waves of overlapping athan, or prayer calls…

《》

When you used to think of poetry, your mind once drifted to paper

Paper with words artistically linked together by a writer…

But now you know, based on the journeys you flew

That poetry can also be wordless, too.

Pretty Pink
God always knows Best.

Nov.19, 2017, on the way to Hebron from Ramallah

– A.S.

Have You Ever Found Soul, Heart & Mind Scattered?

Under the Lemon Tree

Have you ever found your soul’s song scattered about?

There you are

Seeking…

Searching…

Finding it…

Between bulky boulders and rocks

In quaint dessert cafés that barely sleep, no matter the clock

Among thorny plants and at the sight of a cactus

Under thick soft blankets that melt your coldness into bliss

During a simple olive-picking activity

Or when standing beneath the shade of a lemon tree —

Have you ever found your soul’s song scattered about?

Have you ever found your heart beats scattered about?

There you are

Seeking…

Searching…

Finding it…

In a yellow taxi cab playing classical Fayrouz

During a road trip car playing Oumayma Khalil tunes

In a stab of nostalgia, hearing Rihanna in a Hebron shopping mall

At the sight of a man proudly galloping in traffic, on a horse so tall

Against the backdrop of scents, spices and music in the open marketplace

With the rhythm of footsteps walking distances in the lit-up night space —

Have you ever found your heart’s beats scattered about?

Have you ever found your mind’s thoughts scattered about?

There you are

Seeking…

Searching…

Finding it…

In the eyes of kind, compassionate, down-to-earth people

As you acknowledge this land was walked on by prophets without equal

In the bubbling words of an enlightened, engaging conversation

Upon entering any shop that is casually playing Quranic recitation

In the sanctity of being in the Ibrahimi Mosque, or Cave of Patriarchs

In the old stone buildings, colourful fall vines, and structural archs — 

Have you ever found your mind’s thoughts scattered about?

Have you ever found your soul’s song, heart and mind

All

Debating, wondering, arguing,

persuading, agreeing, disagreeing,

musing, guessing, being certain,

being uncertain, pondering, reflecting —-

On what home means?

                          On where home is?

                                                    Who home is?

                                                                           Why home is?

Alas.

Have you ever found your soul’s song, heart and mind scattered about?

Pinecones Galore

And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

-Written November 11, 2017