Daily Archives: February 8, 2008

Poetry Friday: Ibtisam Barakat

After reading Ibtisam Barakat’s beautiful memoir, Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood, I looked around to learn a bit more about her. In doing so, I made two discoveries. First, Barakat is a poet too (lucky us). Second, there is a highly interesting poetry site out there in cyberland called UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry. Its purpose is to serve as “an interactive forum and celebration of international poetry encouraging universal dialogue, compassion and peace,” by featuring the works of poets from countries all over the world, in their original language and in translation. Several poets represent Palestine on the site, and one of them is Ibtisam Barakat. One of the poems you will discover there in Arabic and in English, is Curfew.


Our city is a cell
Children’s faces
Are replacing
Flower pots on
Window sills.
And we are waiting.

From our bars
Of boredom
We enter
A spit race
The one whose spit
Reaches farther
Is freer.

We look to the sky
Squint our questions.

We turn the sun
Into a kite
Hold it with a ray
Till it is torn up
Inside the horizon…

For the rest, and to hear an audio track of this poem, head to UniVerse. You’ll find Barakat’s other poems equally moving.

(photo © Rodnei Reis for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)