Poet’s Corner: War, Breaking bits of Soul, My sparking city, Because/When I was not there

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.


There are armies
There is ugly might
Struck by greed
Brute blindsight

Destruction of a country
Crumbling to the core

As a cruel force rears
its brazen head to roar

The players in this game
They change as years roll by

There will always be a reason
to invade and to deny

Wet tears
Warm blood
It will all run dry

Collapsing cultures
Simmering end
The stench of death
Once again

I’d like to hear
that it’s always wrong
To kill, to maim
Just because you’re strong

I’d like to hear that
that it’s always wrong

To decimate
Despite who the invader is…
To decide a weaker nation’s fate

Be it Ukraine valleys
Or Syrian alleys

Be it shattered limbs on Yemen’s lands
Or broken bones on Afghan sands

Iraq’s rich culture
razored to the ground
Weapons of mass destruction
never found

So Not just today
War is always wrong

Zeinab Masud

~ ~ ~ ~

Breaking bits of Soul

I remember racing
My heart thudding
Like it would break
Against my indignant rib cage

A skinny child
My bony feet pressed against
the moist, lush green grass

Aunt’s garden
“Catch, catch”
We raced with shameless glee

I had to cling to every little memory
Before Home
would once again
be lost to me

Onwards to foreign lands
I was so little

I only noticed
with different colored hands

I remember the soft purr
of Persian in Tehran
The scent of luscious roses in Amman
The winding alleys
of bustling Syrian bazaars

The trendy beat of a (then) stylish Beirut
Formals, Mummy’s silk Saris
Men in dark suits

And then when darkness would drape over my room
I would close my eyes and try and dream
Also perhaps gently scheme
to get to a place I would not have to leave

Every time I moved,
I cried like a lover
who had had no other.

I tasted salty, warm tears
I felt myself shudder.

Zeinab Masud

~ ~ ~ ~

My sparkling city

I crave the smog infested skies
of my sparkling city

In my mind, it shines

It glows
Grander than Arabian palaces

In truth it is filled
with the stench of raw hunger

But on show
Are beaming smiles,
tattered clothes

Tap tap tap on car windows
knuckles grey with grime

Sometimes I will give money
Sometimes fruit or lime

Mostly I will drive through
In chauffeur driven ease

I could not change their circumstance
Still they did looked pleased

We had a small connection
It mattered for a while

In my dust soaked city
A penny for a smile

Zeinab Masud

~ ~ ~ ~

Because/When I was not there

He was shy now
In the face of his waning,
once brilliant memory.

His great mind no longer able to overpower
the weakness of his body
not like it had done over the past some years.

If I was there
I would have seen

The day-by-day decline of determination
where will surrenders
to the passage of time.

His back bent further,
His feet shuffling like they had forgotten
Which foot was supposed to go first

He needed someone to hold.
His frame grew frailer.

I was not there.

I remember though everything he stood for,
the clarity and morality with which he had lived his life.

I remember his incredible love and patience
for his young grandson
despite his own withering form

What good is this now?
My memory
Can it heal his wounds of loneliness?
His fear of empty rooms

With utmost respect he would ask my son, a young child
if he had had a good day

All the while aware of the fading light
which surrounded his own frail self

Sometimes we were there

A last birthday
Still impeccable in a pale, pink shirt
Bending to blow out
A solidly still standing candle

Feeble and elegant

Fighting for the right
To still give light

But if brutal truth be told
While every memory I try and hold

I know that mostly we were not there.

Zeinab Masud

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zeinab Masud Agha is a trained Humanistic Counsellor and a Certified Tiny Habits Coach. She has a passion for prose and poetry and has had articles published in newspapers and magazines. Zeinab is currently working on her first book as well as a collection of poems. She loves the writers community in Edmonds and the greater Seattle area. Zeinab was one of the recipients of the non-fiction award at WOTS last year. Currently based in Seattle, Zeinab has straddled cultures and crossed continents, having lived in over 10 different countries. She’s still searching for a place to call home.


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