Akram Al-Katreb: Syrian Poet & Friend

Today, we’d like to share with you the poems of a Syrian poet and friend, Akram Alkatreb, translated by Samantha Kostmayer  and Mick Stern. Alkatreb’s poems are heartbreaking, full of love and longing for his native war-torn country, which he addresses as if it were a beautiful woman. Enjoy!

—Claudia Serea & Loren Kleinman


The Moon in Damascus

I cast my last look at villages and cities,
that throw their sons in rivers.


At the entrance of the alley,
the wounded dream of cypress trees.


Even soil, birds and friends will change
During the war, dangerous suspicions dominates,
and a strong  will is useless,
even the soil, birds and friends change.

One stands alone in the wilderness,
while  there are crowds of people,
the streets and balconies full of there groans.



Every Day

Every day the guards deprive you of your body’s olives,
that was the food of the Mediterranean sailors.


Life in The Drawers

I left my life in the drawers with no locks,
dusty, neglected, with the catalogs of painters on the
kitchen table.

I wasn’t killed by happiness,
when, for a moment, I thought my soul  was tall like the plants,
growing in the African jungles,
plants which burn in the blink of an eye,
while the smells of places remain in my head
like the whistling of the train.


For unknown reasons,
some status weep.


The blood that flows in the television and the diesel engines
are not enough to utter a cry
that makes the utopian poet
write a sentence on the naked people while dying
and there souls lie down at the end of the night
like the trees on distant.


The moon in Damascus’s sky,
or in the lung of the boy,
whose family allowed him to go to the wilderness
and returned to them sleeping.


In the strange continents of fear,
we leave our shadows to grow with trees.


The door is wide open:
the house is not there.


Akram Al-katreb was born and raised in Salamiah, Syria, a city renowned for its poets. He attended the University of Damascus, graduating with a degree in law. Alkatreb has worked as an art critic and journalist since 1996, contributing to many major Arabic-speaking newspapers in Lebanon, London, and Syria. He is a part of the movement known as the “new wave” of Syrian poets and he has published five poetry collections.


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