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For Ashraf Fayadh Imprisoned

Tense Times, a poem by Ashraf Fayadh

“I am choked by depression, nervousness, worry.

Remorse, that I’m a member of the human race, kills me.”

Tense Times, a poem by Ashraf Fayadh[i]


i know them all

these furious fucking friends,

like an army

putting another city to siege.


i know them all,

the loneliness, the heartbreak

swallowed like a stone,

the anger like a storm surprised,

even this half-dead, cold closed heart

faced with these uniforms, these walls,

their routine and common cruelty,
and lies, the endless lies

of history and place and people

with a mask instead of a face.


The soldiers besiege me on all fronts

in uniforms of poor color…

Laws and regimes and statutes besiege me. “

You write….


So many lies

keeping us in this prison

i know them all,

even without your grim surroundings,

even without your history,

though my own, just like yours

is still full of our unredeemed dead.


We know so much and so little

but one thing always escapes me:

when will this injustice end?

When will all these doors be thrown open?

When will they set us free


let you go grieve your stolen father,

your stolen homeland, your right to be,

to speak, to sing out loud,

your freedom,


our collective and personal promise

of humanity?



séamas carraher

30 March, 2016 – 18, April, 2016


[i] http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/21/tense-times-poem-by-ashraf-fayadh-world-poetry-day

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