Poetry by Yazan al-Shakohi, a student in Syria

Introduction by Josie Ygnatowiz:I was blessed to be paired with Yazan through Jusoor's mentorship program for Syrians wanting to pursue their education outside of the broken system in Syria. Yazan is a native of Latakia, where he is still living now and wants to be a mechanical engineer to improve his country's infrastructure which is destroyed on a daily basis. Through our journey together, trying to find any way for him to pursue the true education that he deserves, I discovered that Yazan is not only a compassionate and hard worker, he is an amazing writer and is able to synthesize the destruction and despair around him through poetry. I think it is only right that we share his beautiful wisdom so that others can see there is still light in such a dark place.

"Swallowing Sea"

There was you.There was me.Stay where you are. I am happy with swallowing seas.Don’t you think,That present is the son of the past.You won’t last forever,And years will pass so fast.Stay where you are.I am happy with swallowing sea…wave by wave…slowly and leisurely…Many boats in the middle of the ocean,Every one of them is me.Seeking for you.You belong to the sea, my dear,you are always in Blue.Stay where you are.I am happy with swallowing sea…wave by wave…slowly and leisurely…There was a man who clearly missed his road,Until he found the sign which says, “Where are you?”Is this a question or a key for a hidden door?That there is no man,Only aches on the floor.Bleed,Bleed,Bleed.Give birth to the monster you feed.But you,Stay where you are.I am happy with swallowing sea…wave by wave…slowly and leisurely…

“White Spring”

Under the authority of seasons,I am Spring without the flower…The Revolution has been hidden under the snowUntil the zero hour.I am afraid to not be able to bleed,Even if they cut me into many pieces.There is no blood, to water my seed.Send me to hell, so I can warm my soulOh God, can’t you hear me?There is no way to reach you!Not even an emergency call?I am a lonely creature,My friends have been gone.They are telling me to move on.They are telling me that I am no stone!It is not the nature but it is authority that breaks me.I am praying that you have created me with enough bones.

Image Credit: Duncan Wilder and Project Amal ou Salam