Our Stories: “3 Poems”

By: Dana Mohammed

The following is a contribution by one of our Community Members to the Our Stories project.

(We Fled) هربنا

Harrubna min el 7arb
Ba3na el beit
Day3ana edday3a
Kharabna el kharayeb
Ghayyerna bel ghorbe
Wa albe ma2loub

We fled the war
Sold the house
Lost the village
Ruined the kharayeb
Changed in the West
And my heart has turned over

Author’s Notes:

This poem is about the struggle and confusion of being in the diaspora. It was hard to translate especially because each line is a different play on words. I have transliterated and translated it, partly to show how the words work together in Arabic.

The “we” in the poem refers to not just me but also my family and community. There’s a grammar change from “we” to “I” at the last line because I wanted to reflect the loneliness of diaspora and not living near one’s family and home country.

“Ghorbe” actually means “far from home” but another spelling can mean “west”.

Another root word of “qalb” is “taqallab” which means “to fluctuate” or “to change”, which can reflect the change happening in being far from home.

Patience Never Found Hope

(title written in Arabic as Hope Never Found Patience)

She waited for her at the doors of the church
But she never came
And she never saw her face again
She returned home, and prayed alone

She waited for her at the doors of the mosque
But who knows where she disappeared to
She didn’t see her face after that
She returned home, and prayed alone

Author’s Note: This is about two religious girls in a secret relationship. They intend to meet at their house of worship to pray, but one is too scared and never shows up.

(Don’t Be Concerned) ما تعتلوا هم

١. حياتي مع العلية كل شي ما بيقبلوا
2. Sometimes I think I’ll never get a life with you
٣. شي يوم راح مد يدايي وكسرن للحيطان البيت المكبوت والمعفن
4. An hour in the shower scrubbing the sins (not mine but yours) off of me
٥. سعري قصير وطويل بس مش بالمحلات المضبوطة
6. Yes, pray for me but not for yourselves
٧. احكو عني قدامي بس مش معي
8. I’ve stopped listening

1. My life with this family and all the things they don’t agree to
٢. اوقات بخاف انو ما راح عيش معك حتى لما بيفلوا
3. One day I want to spread my arms out and break down the walls of this repressed and rotting house
٤. بقضي ساعة بالحمام عم نضف حالي من الذنوب (مش مني بس منكن) من جسمي و بالي
5. Hair long and short but not in the right places
٦. ايه، إدعو عليي بس مش عليكن
7. Talk about me in front of me but not with me
٧. بطلت إسمع