Tuesday, 15 March 2011


by Iyad Hayatleh

From dawn to dusk
I go without food and water
and have no sense of hunger
for hunger is not the hunger of stomachs;
it is the longing
longing of lovers to be with their beloved;
it’s the yearning
yearning of the homeless to return to the land
where memories for six decades
fall asleep on a promise,
the promised return of the dream
on the wings of the nightingale.

Years rush behind years
like clouds hiding days of deep grief
of exile
in waving layers
to leave only the evening of life
and tears of the stranger
with few remaining wishes.
O powerful night
please lift the veil of the sky
and bring glad tidings to the flood of worshippers,
to my family and my people,
tidings of the bright morning coming soon
with blessing for the whole world.

My love
my God, the Lord of heaven and earth
knower of things unseen
the affectionate, the merciful, the gracious, the greatest,
for you I fast my long day
to you I pray my solemn night.
May I win some approval from you
and may you remove from my shoulders the burden of sin.
Cleanse my soul for thirty days with the beauty of forbearance
and let me reach the day of Eid
a new person, with a new dress.

Translated by Tessa Ransford with the poet, Iyad Hayatleh

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Ours are the truest of friends,
without them life is emptiness,
their presence turns ebb times into flow,
together we face the chill of exile,
venturing with poetry gates of the impossible,
undefeated we pass through, no limits to our gains.

On silken arms sweethearts lull us into dreams,
adorning life with enchanting touch,
filling nights with love and things unspoken,
coming to in the slowness of mornings flavoured with coffee,
sleeping and waking to the humming of bairns,
scooping determination from their optimistic looks,
Soaring with them to unearthly lightness.

For sure next round shall be ours.
The keys to hold it are in our hands,
ahead nothing remains but to arrive.

Ours are the pregnant clouds,
enlivening parched flowers with hope,
spraying the breast of the fields with pearls,
giving life to roses newly sprung, *
inviting bees to meals of nectar.

Ours are the songs of the spring.
Love buds bloom by the sleepy burns,
catching tender feelings in minded moments.
Ours are the daisies, tulips and jasmine.
Ours are the ears of wheat,
casting sustenance to the needy
distancing the guillotine of hunger
paving the way for those with hope
creating future for the poorest.

Ours are the mothers, who remain,
with burning tears bidding us good-bye
begging us not to be long.
With Sweet tears welcoming our return
begging us not to depart again.
Tempting us to stay with delicious food,
tempting us to stay with ancestral stories
warming dreich days with prayers
protecting us from time’s harm
hoping innocence never betrays us
that rashness may never affect us.

Ours are ….. loving mothers
true friends
eternal promises
the brightness of all colours
the universe
a homeland in all countries.

Ours is……...the mercy of the Creator
when nothing else remains.

Yet we are alone
eyes brimming with tears
hands teeming with nothingness.


Iyad Hayatleh
Translated from Arabic by Omar Najjar & Beth Junor & the poet
The Scots words are:
Bairns - for kids
Burns - for streams
Dreich - for chilling (days)


لنَا الأصدقاءُ الجميلونَ
أيّامُنا دونهم لا تُعدّْ
بسيلِ المواويلِ والأغنياتِ
يُحيلونَ جزرَ الحياةِ
نُواجهُ بردَ المنافي سويّاً
ونقرعُ بالشّعرِ بابَ المُحالْ
وندخُلُهُ فاتحينَ
انتصاراتنا لا تُحَدّْ

لنَا توأماتُ النّفوسِ
على أذرُعٍ من حريرٍ يُهدْهِدْنَ أحلامَنا
بطيفِ الدّلالِ الشّهيِّ يُزَرْكِشْنَ أيّامَنا
بِعطرِ الوِصالِ نُخادعُ بُؤسَ اللّيالي الطِّوالِ
ونُتخمُ ساعاتِها بالعناقِ
وما لا يُقالْ
ونَختُمُ أصباحَها بالخمولِ
ورائحةِ القهوةِ المُرسَلهْ
ننامُ وَنصحو على هَمْهماتِ الصّغارِ
ونَحفُنُ صبراً تدلّى مِنَ الأعينِ الآمِلهْ
نُحلّقُ فيها بعيداً
إلى أبّهاتٍ وَمجْدْ

لَنا الجولةُ المُقبِلهْ
مفاتيحُها في يَدينا
ولمْ يبقَ إلا الوُصولْ

لنا ما يٌعيدُ الحياةَ إلى الوردةِ الذّابِلَهْ
لنا الغيمةٌ المُثْقلهْ
تُوزّعُ أمطارها لُؤلُؤاً فوق صدرِ الّسُّهولْ
وتُنعِشُ وردَ الحُقولْ
تُحفّزُ نحلَ البراري
وجبةٍ من رحيقٍ وشَهْدْ

لَنا أغنياتُ الرّبيعِ
تَفَتُّحُ بُرعُمَةِ العشقِ عند الجداولِ في الأمسياتِ
التقاطُ الأحاسيسِ .. في اللّحظةِ المُهمَلهْ
لَنا الأُقحوانُ ..
.. الزّنابِقٌ ..
.. والياسَمينُ ..
.. لَنا السُّنبُلهْ
بِخَيْرٍ يَعُمُّ عَلى المُعدمينَ
ويُبعِدُ عنهمْ رَدى الجّوعِ والمِقصلهْ
ويفتحُ للحالمينَ الدّروبَ
ويصنعُ غدْ

لَنا الأمّهاتُ
يُـوَدّعـْننا بالدّموعِ وَيحلفنَ ألاّ نُطيلَ الغيابْ
يلاقيننا بالدّموعِ ويحلفنَ ألاّ نُعيدَ الغيابْ
يـُحاوِلـْنَ إغراءَنا بالمُكوثِ
بـِطيبِ الطّعامِ
وحِـكاياتِ جـَدّاتنا الغابراتِ
يُدَفّئنَ بالأُدْعِياتِ لياليَنا البارداتِ
ويحميننا من سُمومِ الحياةِ
حتـّى تظلّ الطفولةُ فينا
وألاّ يغيـّرَ طيشُ الشـّبابِ الوَلدْ

لَنا الأمّهاتُ
لَنا الذّكرياتُ
لَنا الأغنياتُ
لَنا الفائتاتُ
لَنا الحاضراتُ
لَنا القادماتُ ...
... مَواعيدنا للأبدْ

لَنا اللونُ
في كلّ أرضٍ لنا دارةٌ
أو بَلدْ

لَنا كلُّ شيئٍ
لَنا اللهُ
لمّا يَغيبُ الجميعُ ولا يبقَ
منهمْ أحدْ

لَنا كلّ هذا
ولكنّنا وحدَنا
وفي مُقلتينا الدّموعُ
وبين يَديْنا ..
يفيضُ الزّبدْ


Thanks to Rawan for the nice design