Visibility | The Poetic Voices of Arab women from Algeria to Palestine

Jaffa, the outskirts of the ancient port city.  S.V. AtallaStory

Splitting seeds
in her teeth she spits out
the years like spelling,
one letter after the other.

Bits of Jerusalem
are chips of blue tile.
Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass,
slender, stoppered.

When she says, Jaffa
the iris of each eye is a dark fruit;
her knuckles knot
high in her rustling hair.

Syria, early 20th CE

  Saniyya Saleh (Syria)

                                                            In Exile’

…Bird, hovering over the horizon
bullets are everywhere –
the perpetual traveller –
all my life
I have willed to go forward and have not
advanced beyond
the borders of my grave.

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View from above Aleppo, Syria, 1940. Margaret Bourke-White

 Mai Sayigh


…Everything in the universe has an end
except my spilled blood…
Each time I think of it
you remain as large as your death.

Syria, early 20th CE

         Suheir Hammad


his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

View of the downtown area of Aleppo,from atop the ramparts of the great citadel built in the 4th century B.C. Syria, 1940

        Nathalie Handel

                                                            Forgetting, Love

I am not afraid of loving. I am afraid of forgetting I loved
…I do believe I must leave everything of me to someone, to someplace
so that they could remember for me.

Woman2Bin2BRamallah2Boutfit2B.2BPhotographed2Bby2BKhalil2BRaad252C2B1920.The%2B1948%2BPalestinian%2Bexodus%252C%2Bknown%2Bin%2BArabic%2Bas%2Bthe%2BNakba%2B%2528Arabic%2B%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D9%2586%25D9%2583%25D8%25A8%25D8%25A9%25E2%2580%258E%252C%2Ban Nakbah%252C%2Blit.%2Bdisaster%252C%2Bcatastrophe%252C%2Bor%2Bcataclysm%2529%252C
Woman in Ramallah outfit, Khalil Raad, 1920                     Nakbah, the 1948 Palestinian exodus

    Suheir Hammad (Palestine)

                                                                  Â poetry

…never forgetting
where we come from
where we´ve been
and how sweet honey
on the lips of survivors.

Soldiers urge a mule up the steps of the citadel at Aleppo, Syria, 1940
The Poetry of Arab Women, edited by Nathalie Handal, 2015
Tripoli Libya 1908

 Nathalie Handal

Love and Strange Horses – Intima’

The first time I rode a horse
my body found the music of fire,
crackling the wind. An unbearable pleasure
that also left me with a burn on the side of my leg.
A sign, the horsekeeper told me, of longing.
A need to return—to belong.
After all, departure is like
pushing the weight of our heart
against the village
whose name has kept us awake.

Women2Bcarry2Bwater2Bcontainers2Bon2Btheir2Bheads2Bas2Bthey2Blead2Bmules2Balong2Ba2Broad2Bin2Ba syria2B1940
Women carry water as they lead mules along a road in Syria, 1940

Also :

A vibrant world | The poetic voices of Arab women from Algeria to Palestine

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