New Poetry from Gaza by Mohammed AlQudwa – ARABLIT & ARABLIT QUARTERLY


War’s Echo

By Mohammed AlQudwa

Translated by Tala Al-Banna


I have known war’s echo since I was a child

age five

when a rocket visited the sky of my imagination


How well I know death:

the sound of shrapnel when it pierced my window

and shattered the dreams that were

hung on my wall


I left my poem behind, hoping it would survive

the wreckage


One night, I slept

And went to search my nightmares

for my friends


I wish I didn’t sleep


I was a young man in his twenties when

I discovered the first white in my hair

Was it a strand of gray? Or dust from the house?


Now I’m an old man

saying farewell to his friends

as if we headed to death together

the way we’d lived life together



I won’t forget that here,

I had friends.

صدى الحرب

أعرف صدى الحرب منذ كنت طفلا
في سن الخامسة
حين زار سماء مخيلتي صاروخ

أعرف الموت جيدا
صوت الشظية حين اخترق نافذتي
وكسّر أحلامي المعلقة على حائطي
تركت قصيدتي علّها تنجو من فوق ركامي

نمت ليلة
خرجت بعدها أفتش في كوابيسي عن الرفاق
ليتني لم أنم

كنت شابًا في العشرين
حين رفعت أول شيبة من رأسي
أكان شيبًا؟ أم أنّه غبار البيت؟

الآن أنا شيخ
أودّع الأصدقاء
كأنّا خضنا الموت سويًا
فقد كنّا لبعضنا حياة
ولن أنسى يوما أنه كان لي هنا رفاق..

Mohammed AlQudwa (@alqudwa.mohammed) is in Gaza, where he has been practicing karate for more than 16 years and is on the Palestinian national team. He started writing in 2020 and published his first novel, Last Destination, in 2022. He also studies software engineering.

Tala Al-Banna was born and grew up in Gaza. She is a law student, writer, and activist in the fields of human rights and the environment. She has a strong passion to discover more about the world of animals and nature in general. She likes to read and also embroiders (tatreez) in her free time as a way to bond with her ancestral home in Jaffa.


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