Posted in Imen Benyoub, Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Elegy to Damascus


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

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


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.


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

12 thoughts on “Elegy to Damascus

  1. 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.


  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..


  3. 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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