For Samer Issawi: Tribute to a Jerusalem Son – A Poem

Samer Issawi (

By Susan Abulhawa

Apartheid’s outlaw
Has crooked white teeth
An Adam’s Apple and an angled jaw

A beautiful face
With a knowing smile, gentle eyes
And masculine grace

O’ Native son, my brother

Your eyes have sunk in darkness’ pain
Sleepless nights crawl on your skin
And daylight climbs the links of your rusty prison chain

Religion made a mistake
So your body shrinks
And shadows trample your ribs
While a thousand senators quake

In your hallowed belly, Jerusalem screams
Chokes on your mother’s tears
And shakes these tired dreams

From your body’s excavation of death
The ruin of nations is carved in your palm
And a sorrowful flag holds its breath

O’ Native son, my brother

You carry your broken frame
Through the decay of health
And death hangs its head in shame

You are the prince
Where the Jasmine sings
The bougainvillea prance
And the tyrants wince

Palestine rises on the days
They siphoned from your vein
As if crutches to steady her gait
For, a gun can but power feign

O’ Native son, my brother

Fly over this country your wish
And pour the Adan from your wings
Let the church bells chime from your smile
And the walls fall by your kiss

Our tears will rain and the wadis flood
Until another thousand years
Have sunk in Jerusalem’s mud

We will harvest the olives with your name
And your heart forever stake our claim

– Susan Abulhawa is the author of the international bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury, 2010) – – and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine – She contributed this poem to

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1 Comment

  1. my brother why should I cry
    why not fight and hold Your hand
    free at last

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