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Despair breeds hope
3 min read

Poems by Hamed Ashour

By the young poet Hamed Ashour (born 1994), we publish the poems Open Heart and Simple Things from the poetry collection A Surgeon Experimenting on himself.

Ashour was born in Gaza in 1994. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social and Family Development from Al-Quds Open University in 2017. He is involved with several civil society organizations as a social worker. Ashour works are published in local and Arab literary and cultural magazines.

Credits By Hamed Ashour Translation: Wael Sawah May 23 2023

Open Heart

(To my mother Ibtisam... once and for all)

They told me that my mother would soon go to hospital,
and undergo open-heart surgery for hours,
I don't really know how open-heart surgery is done,
but I imagine that the surgeon will knock on the door of her heart,
and wait for someone to open it...
Then she’ll spill out twelve feet from the bottom of her heart,
Heba and Abeer,
Hamed and Areej,
Fayrouz and Farah,
five spoiled sheep, and a lone wolf,
whispering in the space between the center of her heart and the door,
lovingly quarreling and smiling…

We will open the door as we have never done before,
then with a voice suffocated by fear and doubt,
we will remember what we used to do with her heart.

Heba says: Once I put my mother's heart,
light as cotton,
in my father's socks and threw it high and laughed.
Abeer says: All this happens because she leaves her heart,
lying on the prayer mat,
perhaps in the kitchen,
in the wash basin,
next to electrical appliances,
and on the stairs of the house.

Areej says: I knelt on my knees for many years,
trying to remove stains of sorrow from its white tiles.
Fayrouz says: The teacher asked me for a map of the country,
so I brought it,
displaying on it the keys to the cities,
and the dates of the battles,
defeats, and peace agreements.
Farah says: I did not have a dove,
but when I tucked it in with the feathers,
it flew out of my hand.

As for me, I do not remember anything except,
that I asked her once,
while removing the bandage from her soft heart,
of what things, my love, are mothers' hearts made of?
She said: Of five spoiled sheep and a lone wolf.




Simple Things

There are simple things,
that you can do.
Non-absurd things,
like drawing a tree,
and looking at it,
then sitting next to it like a lumberjack,
without smiling.
Let your ax do that,
with a long hug,
not feeling the tree,
only the ax’s wooden handle.

Simple things,
like writing a war,
then meditating on the letter R,
through which nations slipped to the bottom.
Turn the R into a hammock,
and have fun with the rest of the living.
You can,
return a door to a forest,
a tribute to their mother,
and your heart back to its place,
and exempt a wall from being a coffin.
If only you,
would stop sanctifying images.

You may,
go to cool coffee shops,
collect the small and big lies,
put them in bags,
then pawn them in return for an honest word like (human?)
You can do it all,
that proves that you are human.

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