The poetry book

Some nights ago, I had a strange dream. I dreamt that I was gifted a poetry book written by a famous Iraqi poet called Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab (1926-1964). The man was a prodigy of poetry, who died ill and poor at the age of 38.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badr_Shakir_al-Sayyab

I hadn’t read much about him before until I had that dream. The first page of the book read “this is by far one of the most beautiful poetry collections ever written” and the first page was hand painted, as though someone had had this book before me. Of course, such a wonderful dream inspired me to write a poem myself in honor of Al-Sayyab, whose poetry indeed is one of the most beautiful contemporary Arabic poetry ever written. I particularly like his “Rain Song” being a pluviophile and all. The world of dreams is a vast and mystical place indeed. It was not the first time I dream of bookstores and books. Now why I dreamt of Al-Sayyab out of the blue, I would never know but I certainly consider such dreams as good omens.

The poem I had written was in Arabic as well but I attempted to translate the poem and share it with you as I know most of my followers are non-Arabic speakers.

Do you have a famous poet in your country whose poetry transcends time? Do share their work in the comments below.

A dream and a book

_______________

I dreamt of a book

For the poet Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab

It had a few words written on the cover

It wasn’t long before I realized the dream 

Was merely an answer to a prayer

On the first page there were marks

That were left by those 

who had read the book before me

“This is one of the most beautiful poetry collections ever written”; it read

An awkward smile was drawn upon my face

I had only read little about Al-Sayyab’s works before

But I’d never owned a book

Perhaps this dream brings glad tidings

Perhaps it means my inspiration has finally returned

A dream is merely a message, and those who can dechipher dreams

Understand that dreams aren’t illusions or mirages

Many a time do we meet people in dreams

Many a time does the impossible become possible

In dreams we experience love and perfection

Beauty is dressed with the finest clothes

In dreams we experience another life

That is very different from this one 

With its toils and torment

Where the soul is free

And phantoms embrace one another

Without much blame 

How fortunate would I be 

To find an answer to my trouble

A key to my happiness inside a book

Originally written in Arabic:
حلم وكتاب

——

جاءني في المنام طيف كتاب

للشاعر بدر شاكر السياب

على غلافه خُطّت بضع كلمات

فعلمت أن الحُلم لسؤلي جواب

في الصفحة الأولى رسومٌ ومعالمٌ 

تدل على من قرأوا قبلي الكتاب

“هذا الديوان من أجمل ما يُقرأ”

فاعتلت وجهي ابتسامة استغراب

قد قرأت للسياب قبل هذا

إنما فاتني أن أقتني له كتاب

ولعلّ الحلم يحمل البشرى والسرور

ولعله عودةُ الوحي بعد طول غياب

إنما الحلم رسالةٌ ومن يفقه الرموز

يعلم أن الرؤى ليست وهماً ولا سراب

وكم في الحلم كانت لنا لقاءات

وكم شُرعت للمستحيلات الأبواب

وكم عايشنا الحب والكمال

وأطلّ الجمال فيه بأبهى الثياب 

في الحلم حياةٌ أخرى لمن عانى

شظف العيش وتصلف الأحباب

وفيه تتجسد الروح بلا قيود

وتتعانق الأطياف بلا عتاب

يا لهنائي إن وجدت دواء علتي

 وسرّ سعادتي بين طيات كتاب

Picture credit: juniper.com

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341 reasons why…these are not words

These are not words

These are drops of sunshine on my ever-darkened days

These are not words

These are the teardrops I would hide if I could

These are not words

These are the lessons I carried through the years

These are not words

These are the offspring of my dreams

These are the friends that never hurt or turn their backs on you

These are not words

These are prayers I send on paper airplanes to the sky

The signs I receive 

These are not words 

These are 341 reasons why I swing between doubt and belief

These are not words

They are the invisible battles I fight on my own

The white flags I hold up when I lose them all

These are not words

They’re a mirror reflection of my soul

One day she looks beautiful

One day she looks like she just came back from the grave

These are not words

They are an insomniac’s much-needed sleep 

A daydreamer’s chance to break away

These are not words,

These are 341 reasons why I wake up to face another day

These are not words

They’re the feelings I gladly confess

But are often misunderstood

These are not words

These are 341 reasons why I can’t keep my mouth shut when I should

These are not words

They are the anger that’s been bottled up for three decades in my chest

These are not words

These are the problems no one helped me solve, I solved alone

The pep talk no one gave me before a match or a test, but I still won

The love that only exists in my imagination, long begone

Where monsters lie discreetly waiting for the right moment to attack

These are not words

These are 341 reasons why I can’t have some moments back

These are not words

These are the cries for help no one read or heard

These are not words

These are the cuts you don’t see on my skin

These are not words

These are 341 reasons why I’m still alive

Insomniac

Night falls, I lay my head to sleep

Then the sedating silence is broken 

As thoughts begin to creep

Guilt calls, saying “It’s been a while

That we haven’t gone over failures,

Or the memories you had as a child”

Sleep’s gone, and so has the peace

If only our thought patterns had a switch

I’d turn off the anxieties

I’d rest my head on that pillow

And dive into a sea of tranquility

And while this body is weary

I can’t meet its simple needs

Because the heart is roaming freely

And the mind’s agenda impedes

Sleep is a necessity

Only when there’s nothing to miss 

When there’s no inspiration to guide you

Through a world of writing bliss

Sometimes I envy the oblivious

Who are not shaken or stirred

Their hearts are void of anguish

Their heads are void of words

That they must unload like baggage

Too heavy to carry around

If only I were just as unaware

If only the world just passed me by

Without a trace, without a sound

How to write a suicide letter

Have you got your pen and paper ready? Your take-your-own-life device? Wait, you haven’t planned how you were going to do it yet? Ok, never mind. Let’s just write the letter. 

Dear —- (that’s gonna be the first loved one to find out you why you did such an major act, so they’ve got to be special)

Explain your terrible state prior to the act. Use words such as tired, fed up, exhausted, worn out, beat up. Don’t be afraid to use exaggerations and hyperboles, afterall you need to make it seem logical. They won’t believe you had been in such a terrible state all along or that you’d actually do it but you have to convince them. 

Now start reminding that person of all the amazing things they had done for you and how utterly ungrateful you are for turning your back on them. Tell them you have reached a point where your reasoning has failed you; where you were so depressed and lonely that nothing and no one even mattered. Not your parents, nor your siblings nor your spouse and children, if any. All you could think of was a way out. Even if that way defied your own destiny. You couldn’t fight anymore. You didn’t want to hold on to any more hopes. Nothing and no one gave you hope. You had eyes that could see but you didn’t want to look out for the light. You had hands that could hold but you didn’t want to reach out for help. You wanted to stay where you are. You chose desperation. Yes, you chose it. Desperation didn’t choose you. You decided to curl into fetal position and cry. You shut the world out. You turned your back on life. All you could see where the thorns on the rose, the greyish skies where rainbows hide.   You may tell them you’re a failure,  not for the many times you failed, but actually for failing to find the will to try within you. 

And just before you think I’m judging you for your suicidal thoughts, I just want you to know that I, too, have had them. We all have them. Yes, we’ve all been so low that we could no longer bear life’s afflictions. Everybody is prone to depression, anxiety, mental illness. You’re not a weirdo and you’re certainly not alone in this. The only difference between someone who acts upon these thoughts and someone who refrains from cutting their own rope is how hopeful they remain. The despaired aren’t weak. You aren’t weak for seeking help. You aren’t weak if you cry. You aren’t weak if you’re burnt out, broke, jobless, divorced, betrayed. You are stronger and more free when you understand the wisdom behind your affliction. 

I don’t know what would make you want to read a “how to write a suicide letter”. I don’t know why I’m putting myself in this position where I might be misunderstood. But I’m writing this for somebody, anybody who needs to read this, to know they’re so loved and cherished. You need to know you are an indispensible person in someone’s life. You mean the world to somebody and it’s not up to you to decide to leave them. No. Your time has not come and don’t ever think that by taking the nearest exit you’ll rid yourself of heartache. Don’t ever think that by writing a suicide letter you’d justify yourself to your loved ones. 

Don’t think that by escaping your brokeness you wouldn’t break someone else’s life. 
*To someone I love, someone I don’t even know, hang in there

I am more

That day you provoked my demons

You didn’t know

I was more to what you were seeing

When you shot your arrow

You were aiming at my heart

But you missed it by far

You may have broken my wing

But you failed to see my claws

And just because I don’t roar 

Doesn’t mean I have no voice

And just because I don’t pounce

Doesn’t mean I had no choice

That day you called on your angels

Believing you were a saint

Was the day I decided I’ll never be afraid

I’ll never tremble under the pressure

To be what you want me to be

I’ll only seek my own pleasure

And fight for my own beliefs

My happiness waits for no one

Especially you 

Your doubts won’t shake me

I will pull through

I believe in the power of my dreams

And all the things only I can see

Someday, believe it or not, 

They’ll become a reality

“Back in the old days”…

With all due respect to the elderly in this society, but they all just need to chill! As a parent, albeit it a young thirty-something parent of two children under 10, I believe I have the knowledge and ability to run my life along a safe course. I don’t do drugs, I don’t commit crimes, I don’t feed my kids litter, I don’t keep them awake till after midnight, I dress them in clean clothes, etc… Basically, I count as a good candidate to parent, thank you very much. If that’s what’s considered “mothering”,  I surely can’t be doing it all wrong! Right? 

This short-sighted vision of parenting, however, does not work very well with today’s definition of the term. To be a good parent you have to be a lot of things, not just a housemaid who slaves away in the kitchen cooking, baking and scrubbing floors, or a hermit who severs social ties to raise a family. 

I’m so tired of hearing stories about how moms did nothing but handwash fabric diapers or those obnoxious braggeries about how they potty trained all their children by 12 months in that golden era. You can forget about stating facts and relaying scientific data related to the physical readiness to potty train which most children exhibit by age 2. If you decide to wait it out against your elders’ recommendations, you’ll be looked down upon as the lazy mother who’s too busy texting and tweeting to notice the signs (because, obviously, children at age one SHOULD already by ready to tell you “verbally” that they need to go.) Trust me, your great aunt is more experienced than your pediatrician. 

I’m really tired of all the well-intended yet unwelcome tips and endless guilt trips the nice old ladies take you on with their remarks. Why can’t they just let this generation of mothers be whatever they choose to be? Whose expectations should we be living up to, theirs or our own? Yes, their days are definitely different, perhaps they did have better days back then. Times have changed, and this stressful lifestyle demands a change in approach to parenting, caregiving and house management. The comparisons make no sense when it comes to multitasking, for example. Mothers in the olden days didn’t have the same tasks, interests or passtimes. In defense of moms like myself, I believe we’re all doing an outstanding job surviving this wretched heartless world while teaching our children all the necessary lifeskills to ensure a safer, brighter future for generations to come. More educated conscious moms means higher awareness (and earlier intervention) to issues that require special attention, like learning difficulties, delays and impairments, or physical disabilities. 

They say we should respect our elders, but how about  a little appreciation from our elders as well? How about the respect we deserve for trying to fix a world our predecessors have left broken? We are certainly not the only generation of parents responsible for the moral degredation we witness today. Instead of constantly grieving over the past, we’d be far better off with a little more help and a little less meddling. It’s our time to make mistakes, just like they did, and our chance to learn the lessons they obviously didn’t learn: To live responsibly and teach responsibility, to raise well-rounded personalities not puppets we boss around at will. We don’t want our children to be us, we want them to be better. As a parent, I want to make sure I’ve left no stone unturned, no study unresearched, no effort unexhausted to see my children blossom. I want to bask in the satisfaction that I’ve done all that had to be done so my kids won’t be disappointed that I’ve been a neglectful parent. If that’s not enough for the generation of mothers before me, I might as well blame my inadequate parenting on every war that has plagued this country, wars that were caused by our elders’ unwise elections and re-elections of corrupt figures of state, rather than statesmen. At least we’re trying to change something instead of whining incessantly.
I will always pay much respect to every mother on this planet who would blindly give up anything to secure every child’s need, no matter what her age is or where she is from or how mean she can be to younger inexperienced mothers. We’ll always need to learn vicariously from parents who have longer years of experience in this domain, but we, too, can learn a thing or two on our own. That’s called life, and no one can live it for us no matter how knowledgeable they think they are. 

~ Zeina
Image credit: adweek.com

New Year, New Wishes for you ⭐️

Hello everyone, 

So this is going to be the last post of the year. What a great one it was. My first year on this blog is coming to end and I’m really glad I’ve made some accomplishments this year, both personal and professional. I wish you all a wonderful 2016. 2015 may not have been that awesome for some of us, but trust that there will be brighter days ahead. Have faith and you will see them with your own eyes. I hope you enjoy my last poem with my heartfelt wishes for you. Keep bloggin’, WordPressers✌🏻️

Goodbye 2015!!! Thanks for everything ❤️

There will come a day 

When you’ll say

I wouldn’t want it any other way

All the pain would seem

Like a hazy dream

And you’ll open your eyes

To a great reality

There’s wisdom behind the tears

There’s strength inside your fears

Your afflictions are blessings in fact

But you’re too consumed to realize that

All the prayers have not gone to waste

And finally you’ll get to taste

The sweetness of the fruits you reap

You’ve worked so hard and lost sleep

Over all those big things that now look small

In fact, they weren’t even there at all!

So go out there and stand tall

And leave your marks on the wall

Live the life of happiness you owe yourself

And don’t worry about everyone else

Today is yours 

Tomorrow may not come

Go chase the moon

Outshine the sun

Just be yourself

While you’re having fun

~ Zeina

What Makes Me…Me

What makes me me?

Is it a bittersweet reality?

A present smeared with history?

The fragments of unresolved 

Crises of identity

Unfathomed emotions, unrealized dreams

A motherhood, as unideal as it seems

The passions reminiscing

Of a long-lost career

The interests, cravings, scribbles

I like to call poetry

That speak volumes about

strength that’s found in fragility

What makes me me?

When there’s nothing special

About my life’s monotony

I fill my papers with the inks

Of my agony

But my imagination dwindles

As the years fly by so rapidly

As the year closes, 

these thoughts consume me

What makes me me?

The uniqueness I bring to the ordinary?

The reflections upon sentimentality?

Things that still mean the world to me

Now overlooked as trivialities

What makes me me is simply

What makes you you

What makes humane a humanity 

Strawberry Chocolate Tarte

I love recipes that are met with success, tremendous success. I love them more when they’re easy to make and hassle-free. Like this recipe of chocolate tarte adorned with fresh strawberries and dusted with soft flakes of powdery “snow” (I used powdered sugar for garnish rather than chopped nuts as the recipe calls). This tarte has “winter” written all over it, although I’m pretty sure you can enjoy it any time of year. It looks elegant too, your guests will think you’ve slaved away in the kitchen an entire afternoon making it. Honestly the only hard part about this divine chocolatey treat is waiting for it to harden in the fridge. With preparations taking a little under 20 minutes, I was a bit skeptical and unsure whether I was following the recipe correctly. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome, a rich chocoholic cream dream with a crunchy Oreo crust and a touch of tanginess from the fresh seasonal strawberries. 

I know you and I hate reading long food blog posts, so let me end this torture now and tell you what ingredients you’ll need to satisfy your present craving. You, my chocoholic friend, must be salivating at the mere mention of “chocolate” I’m sure. 

For the crust

330g of Oreo cookies (approximately 32 cookies), crushed in processor

110g of butter, melted

Add melted butter to processed cookies and continue blending until they have a crumbly-doughy texture.

Press into tart or pie pan and freeze until you prepare filling.

For the filling

100g dark chocolate (I used a bit more)

200g milk chocolate (I used the hazelnut kind, and a little more of it too)

200ml heavy cream

Heat the cream and pour over chopped chocolates in a heatproof bowl. Let the hot cream slowly melt the chocolate for 10 minutes. (I was so impatient I had to use the microwave to finish the deed!)

Mix the melted chocolate and cream until they’re incorporated, pour over prepared frozen crust and place strawberries on top. Place in fridge for 2 hours at least or overnight. Try not to devour your slice(s) at once, I dare you. 😍

The recipe, naturally, is not mine. 

I found it on this site: 

http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/no-bake-strawberry-chocolate-tart

It’s been circulating on Pinterest for a while. Don’t you just love this app? Please click the link above to get the author’s original recipe. In the meantime, enjoy gazing at my version of this chocolate-strawberry insanity! 

   
    
         

 

Have a great weekend, everybody ❤️

~ Zeina

What is Regret?

Regret … is the words 

You can’t take back after they’re said

Regret … is the aftermath

Of a rush of blood to the head

Regret … is all the chances

You didn’t dare to take

Regret … is all the decisions

You were too afraid to make

Regret … is the price you pay

For all your thoughtless mistakes

Regret … is how I feel

Everytime I hear your name

Regret …. is my consciousness regained

And facing your truth again

Regret …so intense it feels like a heartattack

Regret …. is all the tears

That won’t bring my love back