City of beauty, or so I have heard.
I have only seen pictures of your cliffs
jetting out high above the ocean.
Today, in the morning, they bombed
your port. We knew this would happen.
Jounieh, Tyre, now you. People kept
asking, “Have they bombed
Beirut?” So afraid all your city
has rebuilt, all that has been done
to bring you back, to raise you up,
demolished, again. Oh, Beirut,
how many sing of you? Fairouz loved you,
and she knew, in her lyrics, wars
divide children of one country.
Ooh uza nihnah’t firakknah,
Bee jum’arna hubbek. And if
we are parted, our love for you
will unite us. Yesterday, I saw a woman,
in Lebanon, on TV, an American journalist asking,
“Are you going to evacuate?” She said,
“I will not leave. I will die here.”
Habbee min tarrabekk bee iknoz i’dinee.
Ibhibbek ya Libna’n
Ya, watanee. One granule of your sand
will hold up the world. I love you, oh
Lebanon, “place of my birth,”
so many Lebanese cry, “I’m afraid
for my children!” another woman screamed,
and her, perhaps my age, holding a toddler
in one arm, the hand of her small daughter
in the other, “Yes, we have to leave,
for my children’s safety. We do not know
where we are going, but we must go.
We hope to come back, soon!” Her wish,
her prayer. Soon. Last time you were hit,
ya Libna’n, 1982, it lasted fifteen years, or more.
“Soon,” she said. I pray with her,
“Soon.” I wonder where she is now,
and if she got there, safely.
Marian Haddad, MFA is a Pushcart-nominated poet, writer, manuscript and publishing consultant, private writing mentor, visiting writer, lecturer and creative workshop instructor. Her collection of poems, Wildflower. Stone., (Pecan Grove Press, 2011), is the press’s first hardback. Yusef Komunyakaa states that this collection, “…celebrates the observable mysteries of daily existence … these poems have dropped all disguises, and each rides the pure joy of music. There are superb leaps and silences that deftly highlight the monumental in simple things.”
Haddad’s chapbook, Saturn Falling Down, was published in (2003). Her full-length collection, Somewhere between Mexico and a River Called Home (Pecan Grove Press, 2004) approaches its fifth printing. Her poems, essays, reviews, and articles have been published in various literary journals and anthologies within the United States and Belgium and have been invited for publication in the Middle East.
Haddad has taught creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake and Northwest Vista College, and International Literature and American Literature at St. Mary’s University. Her works in progress include a collection of essays about growing up Arab American in a Mexican American border town. She writes a blog for the San Antonio Express News.