Resilient as the Saber – A Poem for Gaza

Art by Palestinian artist Ahmad Yaseen. (Photo: Supplied)

By Stuart Ashton

The cactus [saber] exemplifies the cactus-like Palestinian of today … rooted in the land, and locked in a dark present – Nasser Abufarha

You are like your belovèd saber plant

Impossible to completely supplant

Their legendary determined resistance

equally matched by their unnerving persistence


For sure, less noble than their companion the olive tree

they are full of the same bold esprit

Not as beautiful as the poppy

they compensate with other charms they embody


They protect the territory that is rightfully yours

so that the land is secure and endures

Against those who would seek them harm

their embedded thorns are powerful combative arms


Light and often invisible

they make themselves invincible

When the wind carries them on their way

their enemies quickly fall into disarray


But with the loving fellahin who nurture and tender

what succulent rewards do they freely render

Fruits shared in joyful communion

binding longstanding ties of unbreakable union


Their generosity is legendary

in ways that are hereditary

And O, what charms, do ancient rituals

accompany the abundant victuals


World renowned is also their intrinsic patience

so audaciously tenacious

No matter what hardships incurred

they will remain calmly undeterred


Others may be forced to temporarily flee

but their strong roots allow them to survive in perpetuity

No matter what disasters inflicted

they know they will eventually be remitted


A historical witness that refuses to die

They are the living proof of their enemies’ lies

Eternalizing Palestinian identity

prescribing infinite solidarity as a healing remedy


If life is a constant struggle against hardship

their love of life will never be stripped

At the merest flutter of a fresh breeze

what gracious dances are offered by their leaves


They truly are special

for all things existential

Ne’er will their defiance decline

in the Gazan soul and throughout heroic Palestine

Karim Abu Shakra, Gaza (Photo: Supplied)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Stuart Ashton is a former University Professor in Philosophy and Culture. He is a decades-long activist against oppression and injustice. He contributed this poem to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out