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

The Northern Yemeni & The Southern Yemeni

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A Heart’s Smile

Naji Atia


Why the dream in my country is a lie?
And sins tear apart the purity of hope?

With love I heal the wounds of the glorious country
For that the sunset erases the light of my days

I jail my words in the cavity of my chest
So that they keep wandering in my ribs

Sad for my country, I walk like a wound
Like a stranger whom the roads do not know

Time and everything [everyone] in it expels me
Only calamities and wars welcome me

Wars erupt in my country
And peace does not find its way there

And my brother hurts me without a reason
Oh brother! When will you stop doing that?

We killed our homeland with ignorance and foolishness
Neither the north nor the south will survive 

We thought that love is just some words or poetry
Or some illusions told by a liar

 That is why now the lips are smiling fakely
Oh people! When will your hearts smile?

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A Heart’s Tear

Mohammed Sultan Al-Yousfi


The false hope has betrayed my country
And the calamities and wars have made it bleed.

My country is a land of sorrow
And the sunset weeps at the window of every house

Hopes commit suicide in my homeland
And in it the dreams of hardworking people fade away

We extend our hands for peace
But no one, oh grief, answers our call

Whenever I steer my heart at my country
It comes back melting out of sadness

I see its sadness in every face
And hearts are crying from the undue grief

Every inch of my homeland
Has a share of war’s blast

So if the north shed tears of sorrow
The south responds with wailing

Sadness is chewing the livers of victims
And the fire of war is scorching everything

Oh the hand of war, be gentle with a nation
Whose horizon is besieged by a terrible pain

As the war’s fire burns the face of my homeland
When will the horrors in my homeland vanish?

When, oh my friend, when? Pains are multiplying
And the sunset covers the sun of love

When? The hand of death kills people
And in the shadow of grief is a bleak homeland

If the hand of war had enough of our blood
Then hearts will smile and feel pleasant

Tomorrow, my friend, darkness will be defeated
For the dreams of Arabia Felix [Yemen] never die

Tomorrow the [political] parties will have no excuse
And tomorrow is just a moment away.

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The Country of Diaspora

Naji Atia


What is the harm…
If Yemenis find a nice life and attention?
What is the harm …
If the diaspora forgot their way,
And their reunion became easier
Despite the crowd?

 What is the harm...
If all their wars ended
And on all their tribunes they chanted:
"Come to the roads of peace!”?

 Oh wound! That travels in my blood!
And the blood of all Yemenis
Year after year
You will not find among people – if they speak –
But those who are mastering false glorifications 
And fabrications
No blame on them for they are cowards.  

I do not know what is coming
And I cannot change the narrative
But here I am
With the blood of those who fall down
I wrote the story of the gloomy darkness

The story of fear and roaring death.
From the cry of the little child
Who was given sweets of death
On the Eid day
Oh you! The blustering of wicked people.  

I am just some voice overloaded with oppression
In a time that was accumulated
From a tale
Written with the ink of starving people’s bitterness
And the pain of fasting.  

Who am I in these overwhelmed events?
A blurred vision of battles
And a bruised wound.
In every corner and every house
The ugly devil is an expert
In scattering debris.

Oh officials!
Oh merchants of our nation!
By the fire of hatred and deception
Silence became husky
And the words were broken
And the question of those who have passed away knits tightly my ribs
Makes them as a swing.
Until when , Oh my friend, there is no use of talking?

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Chain of Whining

Mohammed Sultan Al-Yousfi


Between the walls of sorrow
There is an imprisoned homeland
An enshrouded homeland
On a coffin of nostalgia.
All the roads are full of dead people
Full of live people chained with whining.
Lonely, I sing for peace
I defend my sad homeland
Against its pain
Against its sadness
And the hidden spiders of its despair.
My poetry is a remnant of eagerness
And my string is so sad.

My folk songs have melted
And the moaning has ceased them.
From where can I get a melody in the horizon
Oh my friend, and my dream is unshielded?
From where?
All my poems are sheer pain
And all my melodies are sheer wounds.

All paths are surrounded by death
From all directions
And the grief’s echo of starving people
Shakes my rhymes
And bleeds my songs.

Traveling never forgets us
Nor the pain of diaspora.
And the blood of Yemenis is spilled
And the corpses of the victims are bleeding
And the suffering citizen is slaughtered by tyrants
His air is suffocated with gunpowder
And his life is just a wreckage,
His lights went out,
And he was surrounded by darkness.
The war steals his dream
Burns him with fire
Year after year.

Is it time for the torn country
To see the light of love and harmony,
To curse the fierce war,
And to sing for peace?
What is the harm if Yemenis shout loudly
With one voice:
Oh war! The land of faith had enough of butchering and division.

 Oh my friend! Our words against this darkness
Are the last shot
So draw your words like a sword!
Do not leave the wounded homeland here
For the war is against you!
Take from the tears of bleeding people some poems,
And bandage their wounds and yours!

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Naji Atia


Oh Aden! What can I say about Sana’a?
In my chest there is a great wound called Yemen.

When? And what?
The call of glory is a collection of questions
Not confined by a homeland, nor limited by time.  

I loved Sana'a, if only its alleys knew
What the sea and the ships do to me! 

White was the hand of the days as we paint it
And around it was the green oasis and the cities. 

The voice of “Ayoub” [Ayoub Tarish: a famous Yemeni singer] in different regions has a hymn
That has been drawn from the wind in the form of breezes for those who had become weaker.  

The oath in our souls became a source of joy
When Aden woke up on the dawn of hopes.
Our reality was based on good intentions
So what has happened to us? Oh time!


The hopes of soul in our breath have aged
And the call of duty has vanished.

The arrows of death had enough of hunting us down
As if they were floating blessings or favours.

 The countries of all other nations have progressed
While we are dead, without even a shroud. 

Even the crops in our souls have withered
After they saw our voice being choked by hunger.

Our rulers, who are responsible for our pain for a long time,
Are not to be trusted to bring us justice.

 Shame on them! How nice if they just leave us
Or if they dwell underground! 

Unity [Yemeni Unification] was not a matter of selling the land
But good intentions alone paid the price.  

I need a boy’s tears so that I can see my homeland
For tears and slumber have aged in my eyes.  

I need a face so that I mourn those who have departed
And those who have been buried beneath the earth’s skin.  

For God’s sake tell me! Is there a free country in this land?
A country without hate and seditions?

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Mohammed Sultan Al-Yousfi


Aden and Sana’a are in the same situation
If Aden complains, so does Sana’a.

 And if “Nuqum” [a mountain east of Sana’a]
became happy and cuddled the dawn,
The lights on the peak of “Shamsan” [a mountain
south of Aden] became more glorious.
Love in Sana’a has a hymn
Affection in Aden has echoes.  

Love is the letter (Ha ح) wandering in the sky of Sana’a
And from the mouth of “Sira” [a rocky island in Aden] the letter (Ba ب) showed up.
[Note: In Arabic the two letters (Ha ح) and (Ba ب) form the word (love حب)]

 The letters (Haح ) and (Ba ب) united our land
Oh my country! Where did the letter (Ra ر) come from?
 [Note: In Arabic, if the letter (Ra ر ) is inserted in the middle of the word (love حب) then it changes it to (war حرب)]

Where did it come from? For war is a fire that burns hearts
And paints faces with blood.

Who made the entire of Arabia Felix [Yemen] bleed,
So calamity spreads out around the whole country?

The face of Arabia Felix [Yemen] is painted with blood
Its tragedy is so great.

 For its south is full of sorrows
And its north was hit by the calamity.

 And the hearts of its people have been torn apart
Is there a cure for bleeding hearts?

Do the cities with dark quarters have a dawn
Or a light that embraces their faces?

Is there a saviour of childhood and innocence?
Is there a hand extended, or a call, for peace?

In my homeland there are a thousand advocates for war
And it [war] has lords in every city.

Warlords with dreadful deeds
Their eyes are full of darkness.

 They got lost, and at the bottom of hell
They are led by foolishness and hostility towards madness.  

You will never find a free and pleasant home
As long as the fierce war remains.

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