My Name is Palestine

The Palestine Chronicle is pleased to feature two poems by distinguished South African poet Rassool Snyman.

My Name is Palestine

Rassool Snyman

My name is Palestine

My name is Palestine

Heed it and be freed

From the ravages of oppression

And fear

My story is your story

My pain your pain

My dream your dream

My liberation your liberation

I have wronged none

But have been wronged

I have been beaten

I have been shot

I have been mutilated

I have been robbed

I will not be cowed
 

My name is Palestine

I have no fear

Fear is but a milestone I passed

Somewhere on my journey of dispossession pain misery

My name is Palestine

I will not be cowed

My children have been killed

My vineyards razed

My water stolen

And my home demolished

My name is Palestine

I will not be cowed

Strangers from foreign shores

Steal my lands

In guile and deceit

Assisted by international thieves

And global plunderers

Witnessed by a silent world

Drugged and blind

In the name of twisted ideologies

Make me a stranger in my lands

And rain death upon me
 

My name is Palestine

I will not be cowed

As the stars are so shall I be

As the sun sets and rises

So shall I

I shall break the chains

That are placed on my wrists

I shall remove the manacles from my legs

I shall tear loose from the dust

To which I am chained

I shall stand on my feet

Not live on my knees

I shall cry freedom till my last breath

I am Palestine

I shall not be cowed

Or enslaved

Or bought

Or sold

I am neither chattel

Nor slave

I am Palestine

I will not be cowed
 

I have been starved

Strangled

Suffocated

Tortured and maimed

I have endured

I am stronger

Resolute

My spirits soar

Like the eagle

My hopes like the cedars of Lebanon

Reach to the heavens

On the wind is my name written

In songs will I live

In your memories will I reside

For eternity

Death may embrace me

Beyond shall I exist

For eternities

And more

In you

In your children

In your children’s children

Immortalized in your dreams

Should I die

Whisper my name

Before you sleep

That I repose amongst the stars

That you might see me

And remember me

And speak of me

For I am Palestine

I will not be cowed

(South Africa – 3/12/2008; "Tales of Extreme Sanity")
 
***

Thus Spake Palestine

Rassool Snyman

He sat amidst the ruins

In the fading light

Of the setting sun

Whipped and lacerated

Proud yet humble

A smile on his dust covered face

Tear steaks furrowed his cheeks
 

I am Palestine said he

I am from here and there

And everywhere 

From time immemorial

Have I tilled the soil

Planted my roots

And reaped my fruit

I have raised my children

And taught them the ways

Of humanity

Of respect

And compassion

And oneness
 

Between tears and anger

I tell my story

Between grief and sorrow

Joy and laughter

My emotions flow

Like she who ran

Between Saffa and Marwa

In the sunshine of Time

I await my own wellspring

To quench my thirst

To cool me

To give me succor

To give me rest

And respite

And shelter

Within me I rage

But I tame the tempest

Harness the maelstrom

Malice is not of me

Therefore I banish it

Vengeance a stranger

Therefore I shun it

I have for centuries

Co existed with others

For I am others

And they me

Loathe am I to debase myself

And ruin my soul

 I am patient

For I shall triumph

Time is on my side
 

The boots of oppression that trample me shall fade

As have faded those before

The shackle and whip destroyed

As have those before

History shall give me eternal life

Though my lifeblood seeps into the hungry earth

I am renewed

Reinvigorated

Reborn

In every mind

In every heart

In every freedom song

I live even as I die

I die even as I live

I am broken I so many places

Beyond count

It is hope and my dreams that bind me

Keep me together

My dreams are ordinary dreams

Of peace

Of children

Of an assured future

Of safety and shelter

Of freedom

Of justice
 

Come to me

Come with me

My home is welcoming

My hearth warm

My family courteous

And hospitable

Let us share

What little I have left

Hunger is a terrible thing

And so is thirst
 

It was in the political twilight

That there came upon us

Those who wreak destruction

In the name of their gods

And nationalistic dreams

Perfumed nightmares

To any other but they

They marched upon us

With fife and drum

Fire and death

Fire in their hand

And murder in their hearts

Like hungry angry locusts

They swarmed

And swarmed

Devouring our land

And our peace

And shed blood

In the name of their peace

There lie my sons and daughters

Fruit of my loin

Salt of the earth

Innocent

Strewn on fields

Of bayonets and bullets

They tore from me

What beauty I possessed

My poems have died inside of me

My songs lifeless

My thoughts laid bare

My solitude stillborn

They ravaged my soul

And laid waste my dreams

The fires have died in the hearth

And inside of me

My family no more

In ashes am I covered

I am cold

I am empty

Hollow

Pained

Grieved

I see in your eyes pity

Pity me not

Empathize with me

For me

For those I lost

And may never see again

Weep not for me

Give me your hand rather

That I be strong
 

I am broken yet whole

I am Palestine

Thus is my tale
 

The sun set

Darkness set in

Thus spake Palestine

Thus was his tale

(South Africa – 3/1/2008; "Tales of Extreme Sanity")

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