Friday, August 5, 2011


It is sad that one has nothing else to offer but the words of a poet in the face of the political upheaval in Syria, where governess troops have killed over 2000 of their own people, have imprisoned scores, disregarding civil rights and freedom of expression by their citizens. The governement bullets found even a barely one year old baby. Violence does not work, brings only grief.
The poem Hama was written in Dutch by Bart Stouten when peace reigned for a while. See salon12b for the Dutch original and the German Translation

This summer weeds turned on
the watermills of Hama.
Shredded memories?
The old aqueduct won't ever again
cast them off. Where once was the field
now the consolation of a poster Old Hama:
it is Assad, father and son
and 30.000 dead. Look
how explosive they grow,
overgrowing a year
about which the city doesn't speak.

Like a child feeling found out,
twenty years later:
collective memory,
waiting for my ride.

A cart jolting and jerking
with no where to go.
The set repertoire of a folktale-teller
no one has seen.
Somewhere I'll find him
says Lonely Planet.
His world invitingly
ajar. Like the window.

Elsewhere, other-worldly:
two old people
in a mobil home at the Orontes river.
Belgians sure enough.
She peels an apple,
he tells the story,
in bits and pieces.


Hate got stuck, like a record,
lack of understanding, like a memory, in awful hunch
like stale beer after closing time,
while the rain wails on the sidewalk
and the sidewalk slowly turns to leaves         
from a drunken dessert with the wobbly camel
of an awful hunch.                                               
Like a record that got stuck, the muezzin wails
that you are dead, like lost sheep
in a late afternoon sun. Not a shepherd to be seen
as far as history still goes, and that is further
than your oath of secrecy. In unreadable reality
comes an Arab newspaper with strangle-sounds
and arabesques for show, with glasses Nescafe
paid for by the Baath party.
Hate hung around, on the shore of the Orentes river,
in my sub-chilled dessert, air-conditioned
in the reflection of the high minaret
which this morning continues to cry out my old love.


  1. A poem can often be more expressive and insightful about a personal, social, political or historical circumstance than any other form of writing about it. Bart Stouten's poem certainly is.
    Thanks for this post.