On Ma’s face

There is a book

And life’s preface.

Between these lines

And in these two caves

Life dwells.

That line is hope.

That one is love.

That death.

When she smiles,

She gives hope,

She gives love,

She gives life,

To life.

When I Stoop


A poem for Mahmoud al-Sarsak and Lina Khattab

The walls of my prison

Whisper to me;

They tell me stories of people who were here

Of people who lived here.

There was the weak

And there was the old.

There was the child.

There was the lady.

They were here,

But now they are there.


In my prison,

I talk to the walls

And they to me talk

That one day I will walk:

One day my jailer will stoop

At my feet

To unlock the chains.

It does not matter why

But he will stoop.


Inside my prison I draw my future

With minute details.

On the other side of the wall (Behind the bars)

Sits the jailer.

As he turns back

And looks me in the eye,

He pours mountains of boredom

And let’s loose of a sigh.

I look back and smile.

He clears his throat

Blinks once then twice

And moves his lips.

I walk away

And give him my back.

I smile again Winking at the wall.

‘See,’ it tells me

‘I know,’ I reply,

And bend down

And shake my chains.

The look in his face,

The fear in his eyes

Both make my day.


Inside my prison,

I also stoop,

But when I do,

I stoop to conquer.