Poetry by Yazan al-Shakohi, Part III

Introduction by Emily Osborne:

The Euphrates Chapter Leader at UC Berkeley, Josie Ygnatowiz, connected with Yazan through Jusoor’s mentorship program. He is currently living in Latakia and hopes to pursue his education abroad so that he can return to Syria and better serve its people. Through our conversations over several months I have come to know him as a strong and selfless individual, in spite of the oppressive conditions in which he lives. Yazan often speaks of existing in survival mode, and yet he continues to dream big and do what he can to help others. His writing is both beautiful and haunting, giving us a powerful lens into life on the ground in Syria. You can read Part I and Part II of Yazan’s poetry on previous blogs.


Blossom of dreams

An old man said to him
my hair is grey, grey is the color of years …
my eye is the viewer, my eyes
a rainbow, a river of tears …
I’ve lived while you were trying to live …
through these days of destruction …
destruction will seduce you to return in your memory
old days are the key of seduction …
I was a soldier once, yes I did it …
they’ve taken out the human who was inside of me
yes they’ve killed it …
I was a husband for and unknown wife …
a father for an unborn child
all those dreams were tired …
Until I stopped sleeping
The young man replayed …
My hair is black, black is the new grey …
my eyes look like old art, painted by old paint …
a raining cloud, a winter sun blessing the day …
You’ve lived while I was trying to live …
while I was trying to live in wrath and fears …
that circle of past, present and future …
it’s only about past and past again,
no colors were found in my picture …
destruction will seduce you, you’ve lived while I haven’t
but still destruction is the key of seduction …
I’m not a soldier
nor a husband
nor a father
I am the unborn child …
who was living in a tired dream

After all we’ve lost

Stop the buck-passing, we’ve lost
Our letters are our most valuable treasures
seas only seas, we missed the coast
so bless me, bless me god, I’ve the right to boast

 

The cards are stacked against us, but we are the believers
chancing our arms, no prizes for guessing
in the sea like a whale in the sky like a weaver
in the lap of the gods, so it’s a blessing

 

I’ve come up against a stumbling block
a 24 year-old man, they’ve got me over a barrel
not knowing what to say I was shocked
Doors are closed, human souls become feral

 

The cards are stacked against us, but we are the believers
chancing our arms, no prizes for guessing
in the sea like a whale in the sky like a weaver
in the lap of the gods, so it’s a blessing

 

Border only borders, and I will find you
I’ll be happy with swallowing seas
I can’t keep a lid on my emotions after all we’ve been through
We, too, will pass through death on the boat with me

 

The cards are stacked against us, but we are the believers
chancing our arms, no prizes for guessing
in the sea like a whale in the sky like a weaver
in the lap of the gods, so it’s a blessing
What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Cathryn Rathsam says:

    What Soul-inspired poetry that touches the heart. These injustices can and will stop as we all unite and stand up to them. I made a sign which I placed on my window which faces a street with lots of walkers. It says “I Love my Muslim and Immigrant Neighbors”. I’ve had many thumbs up and smiles. One fellow came up and thanked me and asked if he could take a photo and send it to his Mom.

  • Yazan Al Shakohi says:

    Thank You so much, Emily and Josie too my best friend ever

Stay in the loop

Receive our newsletters, weekly roundup blogs, and exciting bulletins straight to your inbox!