Three Poems by Amirah Al Wassif from “For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate”

May 9, 2019

Amirah Al Wassif from Egypt introduces three poems from her recently published collection “For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate.” Amirah has published novels, short stories, poems and songs in Arabic, as well as certain works in English with certain poems translated into Spanish. The poems presented here reflect a poetic response to the human condition of those who live under poverty, famine, war, oppression and extremely harsh conditions.

Amirah Al Wassif from Egypt presents three poems from her recently published collection “For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate.” Amirah has published novels, short stories, poems and songs in Arabic, as well as certain works in English with certain poems translated into Spanish. The poems presented here reflect a poetic response to the human condition of those who live under poverty, famine, war, oppression, lack of agency and extremely harsh conditions.

For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate

For those who don’t know chocolate
the children of poverty
and the sleepers in the corners of ancient streets
for those who survive famines but are still hungry
for those boys who never dream
because they never sleep
for those who don’t know chocolate
but only heard rumors about its sweetness
the people with half a soul
who lack food and live in imaginary houses

For those who crawl on the sharp platforms
at midnight day after day
seeking the warmth to live
for those babies who have never tasted milk
who stare with wide eyes
looking for any help from the hands of charity
and the sensitive hearts which cry and bleed.

For those who gather in torn tents around the world waiting such a long time
For those who don’t know chocolate and don’t have the ability to imagine it
for the innocent faces washed by the rain
for the seekers of the smell of humanity in each dark alley
for those who kiss the sun through their contemplative glances

For those who write with heavy hearts and crushed dreams
the climbers of existence’s shoulder
looking for the face of justice
for the dancers with bare feet on the Everest’s peak
who do their best to bring joy and peace
for the sun of tolerance warming our bones
for the bloom of the flowers
amidst the sky’s gloom 

For those who never tasted chocolate but have heard about its magic
the crawlers of the earth with their great desire
to make the difference between the past and  future
for those who draw in the sand
with belief in their friendship with the waves of the sea
for the people murdered in every battle
for the injured soldiers in every war
for those women who haven’t the right to vote
for the mothers who have no voice
for the fishermen in their ships
for the highest star in our sky and for the rainbow
for those people with disabilities
and for those players with woolen balls
for the little boys who sell water
for the little girls who feed the roosters 

For the nations which suffer from drought
for the victims of racism
for the dead murdered by terrorism

Before my Death

Before my death,
I would like to sit beside an innocent homeless girl in front of one of the UNICEF banners
in our hungry, wide street
talking together about the biscuits
and the magnificent toys and the ice cream

Before my death,
I will try my best to make her
taste childhood’s flavors
and she will try her best
to draw a false smile on her face and because her cheeks will be
a mix of rosy and dirty
I will convince myself that she is very happy!
Before my death,
I would like to kiss all the flowers
especially the lilacs
I will be able to toss my grief aside hoping to find a supernatural sign one of those upper signs
which touches us gently one of those upper signs
which take our souls for a long fabulous walk for free

Before my death,
I would like to laugh in a loud tone
because I will be close enough to the political posters
which will hang everywhere and I will sing one last song for love and freedom
and I will dedicate it to the lonely and the frightened and the immigrants and the dreamers
Before my death,
I would like to toss
the most creative jokes among the boys and girls
and I will gather the most delicious fruits sending them to those who used to plant them but never tasted any! 

Before my death,
I would like to kiss the wide-eyed famine babies and say “sorry” in another way
I will say it like a poem
escaped from the bottom of my heart and appearing of itself
in no-words 

Before my death,
I will praise the woman who works on breaking rocks
who fights in the day
and comes down in the night
an extraordinary woman who knows how to struggle under the angry sun
an extraordinary woman knows
how to fold her begotten clothes among the mess of rocks
an extraordinary woman who knows how to be a soldier in the battle
and a clown in the theatre at one time 

Before my death,
I will salute all the women who work on breaking rocks
I will salute them with love and sorrow

Before my death,
I would like to give endless tickets
to the orphans around the world and I will break my ego mirror getting rid of my old grins
trying to find a true
smile similar to theirs 

before my death,
I would like to share my food with a lost dog in the corner of the road
or in the dirty narrow tavern
before my death,

I will learn how I must live!

Before my Death is a short film narrative done by Bahati Zawatani (Boniface Shirima).
An adaptation of a poem 'Before my Death" by Amirah Al Wassif.
Director- Wycliffe O. Ochieng'
Story- Amirah Al Wassif and Christopher Savali
Producers- Nicasious Okoko and Amirah Al Wassif.

A Woman Looking for a Tongue!

They said your voice should not be heard
we need a woman without sound
then I asked my god o lord, do I count?
and he answered me in short
raise your voice and shout
they said we need a perfect doll walking and stopping
when we want
but I am a total tweety bird
so, I whispered: no, I cannot
they said the good girl knows how to close her mouth
she always pretends to ignore seeing revolutions in the north
or in the south
the good girl is used to crawling
she must hide the bright side of her soul
the good girl doesn't have any right
or even fight for her vote
the good girl could not contemplate the faint light in the middle of the road
they said we need a plastic woman but, I act like a real one
so, they cried “be shy”
but, I insisted to fly!

Link: For Those Who Don't Know Chocolate

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About the Contributor

Amirah Al Wassif is a 28 year old freelance writer from Egypt. She has written articles, novels, short stories poems and songs. Five of her books were written in Arabic and many of her English works have been published in various cultural magazines. Amirah is passionate about producing literary works for children, teens and adults, representing multiple cultures from around the world. Her first book, was published in 2014 and her latest illustrated book, The Cocoa Book and Other Stories is forthcoming. Her latest book For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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