Arabian Jasmine (another name for Damascus is City of Jasmine)
Arabian Jasmine (another name for Damascus is City of Jasmine)

He writes with a wounded language
He is a stranger
The alphabet bleeds when it’s heavy with memory
And poems will always taste
Of dry blood

Everything wounds him
In his naked solitude
Light wounds his face
A wing of a dove and a passing cloud
Wound his orphan shoulder

He writes and his wound becomes a full moon
That bleeds white in the darkness of his exile
It becomes a silk road where he travels alone
He rubs its sides with salt
And adorns it with statues
White as his pain

His wound is an unanswered prayer
His wound is a city
*****
Streets of Damascus, streets of the heart
Minarets and church bells mourn
O bride of the East with your veil soaked in blood

Your face is a dusty cracked mirror
Your womb is full of thorns

Somewhere
A poet dreams of his childhood house
His mother’s bread
His father’s prayer carpet
And the smell of henna and rose water
On the hands of a woman

He doesn’t know that his house is a graveyard
And Damascus is no longer pregnant with jasmine

– Imen Benyoub

 ©2014, poem, Imen Benyoub, All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ via Wikipedia by Scott Zone under CC A 2.0 Generic license

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pictureIMEN BENYOUB ~ is a miltilingual, multi-talented writer, poet, and artist living in Guelma, Algeria. She is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and to On the Plum Tree and Plum Tree Books Facebook page.

12 thoughts on “Elegy to Damascus

  1. Wow. I am late reading this, but I am so glad that Jamie shared it with us! You paint such a heartbreaking picture with your words, Imen. They make me want to help, any way that I can. No one should have to feel/live this way or be in so much pain. 😦

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  2. a whole country and a whole people are suffering from this unnecessary stupid war..I hope Syria relives its glorious days again..and Damascus finds its peace..and be city of Jasmine again..I am deeply thankful for posting this poem my dear Jamie it means a lot to me xx and thank you for always supporting me..

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  3. No matter the side, it’s all so hopeless, unnecessary and unutterably cruel. There’s nothing heroic about these conflicts. A poignant illustration of the tragedy and the loss, Imen.

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