The Color of Our Zayt and Za’tar – A Poem

By Nasser Barghouty

When the celestial colors fuse
they choose yours
an unforgiving cosmic green
with depths and wounds (un)seen
as it has always looked
gleamed off your homeless eyes
and will always do
till time dies (un)foreseen
To us
zaytooni and fest
yet dark and distant
to the rest
When they blink in hymn
those homeless eyes
two celestial fires
are lit by them
and sent far and near
across a dream sphere
where colors mingle and dance in cheer
looking for that qamar
that is our zayt and za’tar
Sheltered they shall find it
on the surreal side
of those homeless eyes
from us
from time
and from the rest
who had long lost that polished guise
while they roamed
for that ancestral home
those homeless eyes
who made zayt and za’tar
with light
color and
Sheltered they shall find it
atop the celestial dome
a quiet fetal wait
of a frozen fate
in those homeless eyes
that have always embraced all
truths and lies
with no history to revise
and no future to surmise
Zaytooni they cry
tears now void of how and why
that cut a primal (un)holy river
across the dream sphere
through it they (un)flow
(un)chosen sad and bitter
on land barren
and under skies of fear
Destinies (un)reached
and promises breached
they (un)flow
their traceless steps (un)fold
despite time
despite fate
and despite all myths that are told
and sold
with both love and hate
Yours is the zaytooni
I seek
that some claim and others (un)claim
but both wreak
all that (un)holy fame
and shame
upon the color of
my zayt and za’tar
Yours is the zaytooni
I wish to become
a timeless color
in a timeless dictum
of a word
of a poem
that belongs to another
who will never know
be or see
the color of our zayt and za’tar.

– Nasser Barghouty is an Arab-American astrophysicist residing in Madison, Alabama. He contributed this poem to

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1 Comment

  1. I feel so out of it – don’t understand this poem.I hope it is not similar to the Palestine agony, one beyond my reach or understanding.
    I wonder whether astro-physicists FEEL???????????

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