Al-Mothanna Alcheikh Atiah – The Curse of Gaza

Atiah LE P&W June 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2024.

The Curse of Gaza, poem by Al-Mothanna Alcheikh Atiah.

 Translated from Arabic to English by Dr. Salwa Gouda.

The Curse of Gaza

And you, O deceitful Odysseus
A game in the hands of a king you think it’s your game
O cunning, deceived fox
And you know that
You will stand here inevitably
In the square of Troy, still burning with phosphorus bombs
Amidst the scattered bodies of Gaza’s women
And their children cut by your missiles
And their men whose hands have not left the handles of their swords
Here where the crows of the world bewitched by your wooden horse roam
Above the bodies
Here where the winds blow or do not blow as you wish
Here where human blood renews its fertility with the cracks of vultures in its soil
Here in the land of Canaan
Here you will bid farewell to your final glance at your crime
Before departing to your new abyss…

You, the filmmaker of your burning, a victim of racism
On a crooked cross
With a Stockholm syndrome camera
And your raised director’s sword vowed
Between a bloodthirsty god and a chosen slave whose hooked fangs
To burn humans, plants, animals, and stones
O dead thief, living bloodsucker
On detonating women’s wombs
On stealing the burnt toys of children
From the scattered remains of their hands in the rubble…

You, the deceitful killer himself
The knowledgeable ignorant
The killer does not escape his dagger planted in the land of his victims
Does not escape the harvest of their nightmares in the head of his night
Does not escape the coming of his collapse
How short the lifespan of kingdoms
When the earthworm comes to nibble at the staff of your deceit
O sorcerer enchanted by delusion
O king who spoke to birds in the language of the hunter
And enslaved humans and jinn to build the illusion of the promised time
Above the bodies
You know the certainty without certainty
That you will soon turn to ashes
In the ashes of the transmigrating sacred books that crowned
Your miserable glory with illusions
Soon a forest of nightmares
Will crawl in your fleeing head

Soon, the Bernam Forest will crawl
Killer nightmares in your head fleeing from the darkness of your victims
Soon, you will see the bodies of your captives
Trees walking hand in hand with the children of the corpses in the forest
Its mouth gaping to swallow you
Soon, you will witness your extended throne fangs
Between the West and the East
A leaf for burning
In the hand of a poet casting it as ashes
In his ashtray…

© Al-Mothanna Alcheikh Atiah

Al-Mothanna Alcheikh Atiah, a Syrian poet and novelist, was born in Deir ez-Zor – Syria in 1953. He graduated from the College of Agriculture in Damascus in 1980. He published a poetry collection for Dar Al-Haqiqat in Beirut under the title “Yes, there is More” in 1979, and a collection of poetry under the title “Mouth of The Rose” in 1989, and a novel under the title “Lady of the Kingdom” in 2006, from the Arab Foundation for Studies and Publishing in Beirut. In addition, he published a critical book under the title “The Poetic Rhythm of the Intifada” in 1990 from Dar Al-Aswar in Akka. He worked in journalism as managing editor for cultural affairs in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper in 1984 and managing editor of the new Shahrazad magazine in Cyprus in 1990.

Dr. Salwa Gouda is an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University. She holds a PhD in English literature and criticism. She received her education at Ain-Shams University and California State University in San Bernardino. She has published several academic books, including “Lectures in English Poetry, and “Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism” and others. She has also contributed to the translation of “The Arab Encyclopedia for Pioneers,” which includes poets and their poetry, philosophers, historians, and men of letters, under the supervision of UNESCO. Additionally, her poetry translations have been published in various international magazines.

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