Home World Literature Contemporary World Literature: Poetry from Palestine

Contemporary World Literature: Poetry from Palestine

Contemporary World Literature: Poetry from Palestine

Contemporary World Literature - Poetry from PalestineContemporary World Literature: Poetry from Palestine

Poems by Nizar Sartawi

Nizar Sartawi is a Palestinian poet and translator committed to building bridges between nations of the globe through poetry and translation. He believes that poetry, like other arts, has the power of bringing people together.
Nizar Sartawi - Palestinian Poet - Sindh CourierSartawi is a member of various international literary and cultural organizations. He has participated in many Arab and international literary conferences and poetry and festivals in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Dubai, Sharjah, Kosovo, and India.
Sartawi has published about 30 books. His poetry and translations have been anthologized and published in numerous international literary journals, magazines, newspapers. His poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Sartawi was awarded the first prize in translation by Al-Nour Literary Organization (1913), Naji Naaman Award for Creativity (2018), and Jerusalem Intellectuals Forum Honorary Award (2019).



O how your heart

Throbs aloud

When you glimpse those

Autumn violas

On your windowsill!


How only to them

You un-bosom

Your hidden qualms!


How your eyes sparkle

With joy

When their petite petals

Wave at you!

~ ~ ~ ~

What will you do when

Winter comes

And violas go to sleep?


When ghosts of frost

Perch on your eyelids

Sprawl on your chest

Creep into your heart?


When death comes close

With none nearby

To comfort you –

Not even a viola?

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature-wind-olive-treeThe wind and the Olive Tree

The vengeful wind of autumn roared


At the olive tree:

“I’ve come again

For you old witch

I’ll unravel your dark green dress,

Stitch by stitch

I’ll break your limbs

I’ll crush your bones

Until the skies hear your moans

I’ll spill you blood

Until the dry dirt in these fields

Turns into mud!


“I know,”

Replied the thick rough trunk,

“You told me so

Twelve months ago.”

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature-Ishmael-songIshmael’s Song

Why are we staying here?

O mother,

In a barren land

No plants

No grass

No water

No love!


And why, O mother

Do these sand dunes sneer?

And those clouds jeer

When our scrawny sheep



And where is father,

O mother?

Has he abandoned us?

O mother

And has God too?

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature- Gun SmokeGun Smoke

Where are they now

Those carefree larks

That gathered straw

And built their nests

In yonder meadow!


Where are

Their morning songs

Their noon siestas

Their evening whispers?


All gone

Since these lands were


By gun smoke

* * * * *


Little lonely leaf

Knocking on the glass door

With your whole feeble


Gaping at me

Begging for



Poor purplish fragile fugitive

Tired –

Of running away

From nook to nook

Threatened –

By the ruthless autumn wind

And unheralded rain?

Frightened –

By the heavy plodding pedestrian feet

The hideous hooves

And horrendous hoops!


Come in

Tiny timid tramp!

Let’s sit

Side by side

To tell silently our sad story

And voicelessly lull each other

To sleep!


… For I too

Am but a deciduous


Counting the days

Before its fall

* * * * *


So every evening

Coming back home

I take a knowing peek

Inside the old mailbox


And knowing I know,

It seems to me,

The rude bare bottom

Sneers at me

* * * * *


Listen sweetheart!


Outside the rain

Whinnies out loud

As it pummels the little hill

And rests a while

Then gently… gently penetrates

The soggy soft soil

Hear the blossoms on the cherry tree

Moaning with pain

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature-Crepuscular MomentsCrepuscular Moments

Do you remember?

Those late afternoons

When you and I


On the edge of the cliff!


We kept our eyes fixed

On the west horizon

As the sun

Tired of the day’s toil

Pulled himself loose

From the tenacious tentacles of the



You held my fingers tight

As we both watched him


In the purple red blue orange mass of mist

Then slowly sink

In the deep

Hidden behind the hazy hills!

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature- Words-of-WisdomWords

Words words words

Here and there

I walk

They walk

I hop

They hop

I run

They run

I slow

They slow

I stop

They stop


I stretch my hand

To catch them

They flap their wings

And fly away

* * * * *

Contemporary-World-Literature-Bedouin_SongThe Bedouin’s Song

I’m just a Bedouin:

I live in a tent –

Cozy an’ fair

Its fabric woven

From rough goat-hair –

A shady cover

In the summer

A rain-proof shelter

In the winter


My possessions:

A single garment – a loose black robe

I call a thobe

A pair of worn-out sandals

A coffee kit

And other little things

I put in a sack

That may not fit

With country-siders’ appetites

Or urbanites’


My homeland:

All this infinite expanse

Of deep beige sands


My sole companion:

A faithful camel

Who carries me

And all my stuff

Together we cross the endless desert


And when i sing

Some cameleer song

He gets so light

Out of delight

And makes as if to fly

Towards the blue sky


Read about Palestinian Literature
Read more about Palestinian Literature 


  1. Coming late… because of personal circumstances related to Corona. But I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to the team of editors of the prestigious Sindh Courier. It is a great honor indeed to be published here.
    I must also add that I cannot thank you enough for those wonderful pictures, so well-chosen to fit each poem….

      • Thank you dear editor. I am really humbled. Just one clarification. I wrote these poems in English not in Arabic. In other words these are not translations.
        Actually I write in both languages, and there are a few poems translated from one language to the other and vise versa. But not these in particular. Thanks again. I may send some more if that is possible. I can also send poems by other Arab poets that I translated into English if this is allowed. Greetings from Amman, Jordan.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here