In response to our call for winter-themed writing ahead of Words For Winter, poet Adham Smart sent us this timely piece that spoke both to the season and current events in the Middle East. This poem was first featured in Seven Voices, and is reproduced by permission of the poet.
Each Arab morning I am woken up
by thunderstorms; the Arab nightmare.
When dawn breaks over the pyramids
war breaks out in their shadow,
and the fireworks that lit up Tunis
come down as shells in Tripoli.
A million mocked by the Kingdom’s hand.
Aleppo’s heart devoured by vultures.
The hands of the clock complete their tours of duty;
swarms of Arab seconds overrun the tyrant minutes,
each big hand revolution beheads another Arab hour,
and phosphorescence illuminates our history:
the rise and fall of patriots and seasons.
I woke up to an Arab spring
but the falling of a million leaves
choked the Red Sea and the White, and now
when dawn besieges the pyramids
dogs growl with black flags in their teeth,
and the Arab winter clouds my breath in smoke.