In the Land of Shattered Windows
In the Land of Shattered Windows
Young Voices from a Broken Yemen

The Religious and the Modern Yemenis

A Modern Journey

Amran Mesbah


I came as a stranger with the migrating dust.
I gasped while thinking of myself,
Trying to find myself,
Trying to orbit around the galaxy of modernity.

With half elegance I adopted an inadequate means of modernity,
So that I can express myself,
And reject this dark time too.
On my head I put an invisible hat
To hide from the life of dirt.

It could be enough, or maybe not,
To put an elegant decoration
As to hide the wreckage of the country scattered on my body.
But lest I stay in the nonsense, I go on.
Behind me are all the losses, as well as the legacy of years,
And in front of me is a maze.
But, still, I go on.
Life is much bigger than this passing moment of boredom,
And much bigger than my confusion.

Like everyone else, when I feel bored ,
I chew my shadow reluctantly,
Before I leave.

Time passes by us. It comes and goes.
Everyone is equal before time:
The one who kills himself, or the one who protects himself.
The road is too short,
And every minute is an endless bleeding.

To avoid the hardship,
I hit the frozen rock of time with the hammer of modernity.

Like the migrating dust,
I am drowning in a cloudy hope.
Looking for a modern life,
I hold on to the sole leg of fate;
Tightly, as not to lose it,
And gently, as not to cut it off.

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And Here I Am

Doaa Saeed


And here I am,
From the seed of mankind I quench their desires.
I set up the glory of the branches,
I chew the roots of the past,
And I toss them towards the present,
Fruits without disturbance.

Here I am,
Creating time, and creating our voice.
I weave, with echoes, what is coming before the
"We are the invaders of tomorrow, and tomorrow will never come."

Here I am,
Drawing a puzzle out of my destiny.
It gets more complicated when I ask,
And it vanishes when it is answered.
It is witnessed by the stars, and observed by fate.
The universe was, indeed, not sleeping.

Here I am,
Awake, sitting on the throne of conscience.
The euphoria of wishes is blaming me,
The burdens of memories are slamming me:
"Nothing remains after death".

My soul is here,
It has removed the membrane of silence,
And asked the universe about the modernity of the past,
About the illusion that perishes with time.

In the everlasting paths,
I am here, not bothered by modernity in the sky of reasons.
My baby is aware of the path’s end, and the metaphor for intentions.
We knock with the tip of our hearts
Until the truth flows and all metaphors strip down.

Here I am, and here is my soul.
We walk together, not hiding from each other with deception,
Not separated by labels.
We embrace honesty where there is no enduring truth.
We look for a shelter and a shadow
In a country governed by confusion.

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In My Country

Amran Mesbah


In my country,
And since the beginning of time,
I am alone in front of the oblivion.
Without light,
My journey is boundless.
I am lost, looking for a brighter colour,
Less depressing colour,
And wanting to be more than just an extra. .

Here, everything is thorny:
A reality without certainty,
And people living like ghosts.
I am wondering, here and there,
For I might find faith, even a distant one,
To save me,
And to take me to a more beautiful mystery
Where I do not get scared anymore.

In my country,
There is no time to contemplate the hit-and-run between the adjacent clouds.
In my country,
Our tragedies, in TV programs, have different names and shapes.

In one way or another,
We protest against reality;
We who have suffered the shock of life,
Who no longer adapt to the changing world,
Or think about the loss.
What a loss!
All myths have stacked against us,
And have revealed themselves as realistic ruins.

But like an abandoned house
That became a great theatre when music was playing in it,
This poor land can also become arable land in which to plant

In a country, like mine, where chaos is doubled,
A short love letter is enough for me to withstand life,
To carry on as a passerby,
To escort the universe,
And to never be broken.

In my country, sizes diminish.
Oh my friend! That hill became a normal body,
Dissolving in a bad way,
Without crying…
Or even without a poem.

In my solitude, I get drunk.
I wait for the dawn, for the horizon.
I move around the vast areas,
From one path to another
To find an explanation for my defeats,
Or for the lack of them.
An explanation for my own belongings,
My old country, and its modernization.

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An Unbalanced Scale

Doaa Saeed


Well! For hundreds of years we have realized that
Fear is fair,
Poverty is fair,
Silence is fair
And “rights” are only the rights of the oppressors.

We have picked the flower of glory
From our history,
From our legends,
And from our hopes
But it is a damned injustice.

In your busy life, the purity of my heart became a disgraceful omen.
Repentance in your darkness became a grave immorality,
And a perfection that was hidden away from the wrongdoings of the world.

Hands are scrambling successively.
The index finger is whispering
At the ears of silent people:
“Who has cut off the vein?”.

Oh you sad ink! Do not justify,
And do not blame us for the policies,
For the acts or the ideas!
We are the victims.
If our pots are perforated
Then it is not the fault of the high ranking people,
For they carry their wrongdoings, and ours…
Yet, this is a poor fairness.

In winter and during the cold storm,
The nostalgia has led us to this war.
The chimneys are full of smoke,
Wrapping their wool scarves around our weakness,
And our old disease.
They are chattering to our authentic coffee:
“We condemn this cold! We truly do!”.

Countries cannot speak,
And we are not land or seas,
We are the light of the eyespot.
The darkness veil has disappeared,
As well as the arms of deceived people.
We have found the right path,
No certainty is guaranteed until you are truly certain.
Ok! We have realized what you were asking about.

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The Age of Rapid Flashes

Amran Mesbah


In the era of swift sparks I am slow.
I would wait few minutes before death to save my wounds.
And I would, with an elusive intuition, trace the shadow of life.
I would flirt with it from a distance, and never accept excuses.
There must be room for reconsideration, even a little bit.

Since the arrival I have learnt few things,
Including running away from the eyes of defeat,
And not living in horror.
I have also learnt how to influence the colors of my aura,
And how not to mistrust existence.

Half of my lifetime has been in vain.
Whenever I realize this, I go to a faraway and mysterious island,
And I get broken without an echo.

This is a harsh time.
It lets us down cruelly,
Like a soldier trampling on the body of his comrade,
And moves on.

I am a child.
Inside me is an astonishment,
I fear to lose it while countries keep fading away.
The voice of my soul is telling me:
Do not rush! For the beach of forgetfulness awaits you,
And the sea never goes away.

In every country,
No one is escaping from an evening’s slumber,
Except us.
Half of us are stressed by the persistent thinking,
And the other half are in an everlasting sleep.

Here, the air is painted with sadness.
Its fingerprints are marked on our souls.
The evening, as well as the rai, cannot wash the air,
The grey colour has penetrated our branches.
The horizon is terrible, and there is no point in staying.
When will this city be taken off our shoulders?

I make myself available, away from any obligations,
And I stay alone in my imagination, looking for imagination.
But I cannot find anything.
I am consumed by every modern language, and every old argument.
I punish my passion, lest I get weaker and weaker.
I impersonate the rebellion so that I can escape from absurdity,
And go on without a space for drama,
Or for a new poem.

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Love In The Milky Way

Doaa Saeed


Time passes through me, scattered.
I stay for a light year between myself and its end. And on the edge of the cliff I am waiting for the beginning, and for another galaxy.

The minutes of this earth
Are branches that do not bend back,
But get broken by despair.

The pride of eternity, and the arrogance of time’s dawn
Are in a conflict controlled by the compass of hope.
The hope that the hands of the clock are moving.

A suicide is just another way of defeat.
Death is just another break in the conflict,
And destiny is not the end point.
Wherever you go, there is no victory.
For the divine destiny is written by the stars,
And I am on that path, waiting.

The echo seems lonely in space,
But then it fades away until it disappears.
As for me I become friend with the mirage.
Between the glare and the nebula outlets
I look for the shadow of my voice,
Scared of the explosion of the unknown,
And of the truth of fate.

My country and I are alike,
With a fragile body and a smart skin.
When we are hit by meteorites,
We think of the shooting stars,
We create wishes for another world, another life,
And we forget that every time
We are dissolving.

Gravity deludes me with inevitability and despair.
Only Freemen* in my country are wandering in the sky,
And the rest are patting on their hearts.

On the planet of immortality,
“Today” became deathly ill,
And “tomorrow” was overwhelmed by despair.
And among that fragility, I am seeking a hope,
A hope which is not governed by time,
Nor one that I am dedicating myself to.

In the orbit of our planet, I dust off my soul,
And I go on.
I walk in with a fleeting smile, with a lovely melody,
And with a poem, which will be read over and over again for generations.

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