The Country I No Longer Know

When I got older my mother asked:
“My dear, why do I see you displeased
Whenever you come back from your wanders?”
I told her, “Mother, I shall unfold the mysteries,
That this prison prevents you from seeing.”
And I went on saying:

I see children carrying stones,
And their masters laughing at their misery.
I see dogs not eating bones,
But crying and howling because they’re hungry.

I see an accident killing somebody
And people running to record the scene
I wonder if noble qualities have died
With the death of men of our old country!

I see the rich mocking the beggars,
And they arrogantly clap their cheeks,
“You say that for days you’ve been hungry,
Here come and lick my delicious feet!”

I see an old woman crossing the street,
With no one to take her skinny hand.
In metros, I see the youth relieve their feet
While the elderly for hours stand.

I see two lovers with their hands embraced,
And, at them, people throw poisoned arrows,
No man can dare say “I love you”
For he’ll be a “wicked” fellow.

I see my sister walking in silence
And a predator goes to greet her body,
Yet nobody ventures to save the prey
And fight the monster with enmity.

I see hypocrites assume they’re God-sent,
And they steal the ignorants’ pathetic minds,
Harps and flutes and violins they use,
To sugarcoat their damnable discourse.

“Now mother, you ask me why I hate
The place that encompasses my memories.
What pleasant memories, for God’s sake,
Does this place owe me?”

From my Mother’s eyes tears ran
And she went to the window and gazed outside,
Then she said, “Look upon that man!
Someone fell and he rescued him.
No, my child, you are wrong.
Noble qualities have not yet died.

Omar Ibrahim is an Egyptian poet and translator. He studies English language and literature at the faculty of arts, Alexandria University. He is the translator of “It’s Time I confess” collection of poems by Egyptian poet Mahmoud Morsi, and some of Ibrahim’s poems were published on online magazines. He aspires to become a well-known poet and translator, and is working hard to achieve his future goals.



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