Mohamed Hosni Eliwa – It was war and nothing before it

Eliwa LE P&W January 2024

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Live Encounters Gaza Poetry & Writing, January 2024

It was war and nothing before it, poem by Mohamed Hosni Eliwa.

It was war and nothing before it

[To the dead who were left behind
Without guidance:
their seats
Their sweets hidden in the bent-backed bags
Raw apricot fruits
In sketchbooks
And they entered the war from a tank or closer.]

While they are making tunnels
For headless corpses
To go to the cemetery…
They broadcast to us the resurrection of war.
“It was war and nothing before it.”

In the newspapers they declared war
In the children’s sheets they waged a war
In wool mattresses and sofas
In the prayer of old women with stories
In the bird’s cherries on groves
On weaning evenings
And the chain rose
In her thorny crown.


“It was war and nothing before it.”

On top of the Mount of Olives
The rain rises with its lowered head
He drags behind him the distance between two times
They both crawl like puppies / slaughtered
[The sickle does not make mistakes in harvesting ears of corn.]

“It was war and nothing before it.”
How many walls
Rest his back on the ground
How much water does it
Go up stealthily
From the groans of a waterwheel
And a lame river!

As soon as the skull bleeds its poem
As soon as the phone picks up the war cry:
-Come on, put on helmets
Once the pig reaches its pen
As soon as they announce death to traitors
Until they brought the galaxy back
To states of death and war
To armed robbery centers
And war factories
To charred kisses on war beds
And dust covers shirts and noble coats
The refugees can then…
Find a diaspora suitable for their shoes
Or a tent to classify them
For a sentence of heads of livestock
And a group of lumberjacks of meager opportunities.

On the doorstep of Gaza
The game store is
About to open its doors
Its rusty lock trembles
Under the impact of missiles
And there are no children
Passing in the background of the painted scene
At the height of silence
The shell made puppets
Small testicle bags
The soldiers lost on the shelves of memory.

War has no significant benefit!
What will the children learn
From the number of corpses in history books?
What do people gain from the smell of death everywhere?

My grandmother, who gave life 70 years
From her bright laugh says
And left my grandfather there with one leg
That does not wear shoes:
“Let us live in peace as we love,
Peace is not born in the trenches
Peace is not born in sewers
That opens its mouth to receive bombs
So, curse the war whenever you pray
Whenever you sit down to write poetry
Whenever you stop to greet a child
Who dies crucified on his feet!”

© Mohamed Hosni Eliwa

Mohamed Hosni Eliwa (1977) is an Egyptian poet and writer. He published three poetry collections. In addition, he is a member of the Cairo Writers Association and a member of the Arab League for Literature and Culture.

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