There is always time

ALAA HASANIN – Translated by:Ibrahim Ala-Sharif

For Syria, all of the Syria this time
There is always time
to count your losses,
even when you’re running scared
to hide like a rat at some dump
that the bomb would land at the opposite side.
No one wishes for the missile to fall
on their heads,
even you,
you who has always sang for peace, children and jasmines,
you who, whenever you see a martyr,
would say to yourself:
I wish it was me.
You who, whenever you see a plane
crossing the sky,
would hear your heart repeating
without shame:
on the children in the opposite building
on the roses in the opposite building
on the songs in the opposite side.
You who,
whenever you see a plane
that had dropped its bombs and is flying away,
would come out of your rubble
your chaos
putting your hands, with embarrassment, in your pockets
as if you’re apologising for staying alive.
There is always time
for the survivors to make their apologies
between one missile and another.
While you’re spreading your steps
on all the roads,
leaving your feet, shadows and memory
on all the pavements,
feeling small
in all the exiles,
there is always time
to make a secret apology
to the homeland,
the homeland that also wants
to migrate.
There is no room
in suitcases, boats and memory,
there is no room
for all these corpses, sorrows and elegies,
go to another traveller,
ask another immigrant
to carry you on his feet,
stand in the long lines
without a passport, shoes, a scarf or greeting cards,
maybe some ruler would give you a home and a hot dinner,
maybe some poet would see you
and write you an elegy
to prove his humanity,
or maybe your picture will win,
your eyes two cold coals
your blue hand
your blue heart
your teeth chattering
out of sorrow, fear and homelessness,
maybe you’ll win
the prize of the season.
There is no room, Damascus
there is no time
to bury all these corpses
there is no time
to carry all of these wishes
there is no time
to plant all of these amputated children
to write for each martyr an elegy
to say to each traveller goodbye
but there is always, always
for two strangers to fall in love
on their long way
to the End of Days.

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