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How to Grow a Garden - World Poetry Day 2016

It’s not that one has been forced to silence, rather that words have tumbled elsewhere than this blog for a while. Here’s a good excuse to restart this blog – commenting on the imprisonment of Palestinian poet, Ashraf Fayadh, jailed for “apostasy” for eight years and 800 lashes, his beheading sentence commuted by the vicious, tyrannical Saudi oilagarchy, best mates of the US empire and Israel, connivers in the oppression of the region and in particular, occupied Palestinians.

How to Grow a Garden

Mulch the Saudi princes,
jumped up hereditary popinjays
presiding over the ineffable infinite
as if they know it all by divine right
and can take it with them.
May the Saudi princes,
enemies of poets and truth
be deposed and decomposed,
words choking their greedy mouths.

Jinjirrie, March 2014

From Ashraf’s latest poem, written since he was jailed.

“I saw my father for the last time through thick glass,
then he departed, for good.
Because of me, let’s say.
Let us say because he could not bear the thought
I’d die before him.
My father died and left death besieging me
without it frightening me sufficiently.
Why does death scare us to death?
My father departed after a long time
spent on the surface of this planet.
I didn’t say farewell as I should have
nor grieve for him as I should have
and was incapable of tears,
as is my habit, which grows uglier as time passes.

The soldiers besiege me from all fronts
in their uniforms of poor color,
laws and regimes and statutes besiege me.
Sovereignty besieges me;
its highly concentrated instinct
cannot be shaken by living creatures.
My loneliness besieges me,
my loneliness suffocates me,
I am choked by depression, nervousness, and worry,
remorse, that I’m a member of the human race,
kills me.”

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For Fayadh from Gaza, Haidar Eid performs “Thirsty for Freedom,” adapted from a poem by the late legendary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm.

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‘There are two ways opposite to each other, one leading to the house of freedom, the other to the house of slavery. Lead the people on the road that goes through courage and harmony; avoid that which leads through strife and ruin.’

Delphic Oracle (circa 7-9C BC)

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How many couplets do you recognise?

How many of these poets were oppressed for their visions and lived in squalid unhappiness?

Don’t wait till they are dead or imprisoned, treasure your local poets today!

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