For Samer Issawi: a poem by Susan Abulhawa

19 February 2013

120219-samer-issawi.jpg

Samer Issawi, on intermittent hunger strike for more than 200 days, appears at a Jerusalem courthouse on 19 February.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Picture of Apartheid’s outlaw

Crooked white teeth Adam’s Apple

And an angled jaw

 

A beautiful face

Knowing smile

Gentle eyes

And masculine grace

 

O’ Native son, my brother

 

Your eyes have sunk in darkness’ pain

Sleepless nights crawl on your skin

And daylight climbs the

Links of your rusted prison chain

 

Religion made a mistake

So your body shrinks

And shadows trample your skin

While a thousand senators quake

 

Jerusalem screams

In your hallowed belly

She chokes on your mother’s tears

And shows us her tired dreams

 

As your body excavates death

The ruin of nations is

Carved in your palm

And a sorrowful flag holds its breath

 

You carry your broken frame

Through the decay of health

And death, devastated by your life

Hangs its head in shame

 

You are the prince

Where the Jasmine sings

The bougainvillea prance

And the tyrants wince

 

Palestine rises on the days

They siphon from your veins

Crutches to steady her gait

While we stir from our daze

 

O’ Native son, my brother

 

Fly over this country your wish

And pour the Adan from your wings

Let the church bells chime from your smile

And the walls fall by your kiss

 

Our tears will rain and the wadis flood

Until another thousand years

Have sunk in Jerusalem’s mud

 

We will harvest the olives with your name

And your heart will forever stake our claim

 

Susan Abulhawa is the author of the international bestseller Mornings in Jenin and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.