Arab winter

While browsing Wikipedia the other day I came across an article on the Arab Winter, which is what we’re calling this tragic period of Arab history: the bloody, crushing aftermath of the outburst of hope and optimism that was the Arab Spring. I’d never heard the term before, and I was very sad to read it; while perhaps not the final nail in the coffin, it felt like a large, crooked, nasty nail nonetheless, being driven into the lid of the coffin in which we buried alive all that hope. Now that this term exists, I can’t help but feel it’ll be that much harder for the hope to escape.

The prompt for week two of Seven Voices was ‘morning’. Spring – morning, winter – night; this is what I wrote for it.


Arab winter

Each Arab morning I am woken up
by thunderstorms; the Arab nightmare.
When dawn breaks over the pyramids
war breaks out in their shadow,
and the fireworks that lit up Tunis
come down as shells in Tripoli.
A million mocked by the Kingdom’s hand.
Aleppo’s heart devoured by vultures.

The hands of the clock complete their tours of duty;
swarms of Arab seconds overrun the tyrant minutes,
each big hand revolution beheads another Arab hour,
and phosphorescence illuminates our history:
the rise and fall of patriots and seasons.

I woke up to an Arab spring
but the falling of a million leaves
choked the Red Sea and the White, and now
when dawn besieges the pyramids
dogs growl with black flags in their teeth,
and the Arab winter clouds my breath in smoke.


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