A night full of poetry

Back in lower secondary (grades 7-9), I used to be super active at school taking part in the student council, volunteering in event-organizing and tutoring and representing the school in various events. I was very passionate about all the extra work and spent hours after school planning, working on or executing some new project.

Towards the end of high school it became a little trickier due to the amount of study and when I moved to Egypt and started uni, practically nonexistent… It became about just attending lectures and doing course work. I know that many in my year take part in activities like TedX and MUNs, but for me, managing the school and home part together seemed too overwhelming in Cairo (even before baby) to have any energy for extras.

After Yunus was born and after the turbulent first year of his life, I started getting feelings of exclusion. I felt like I was missing out on the real university student experience (whatever that might be). And there’s something that I’ve learned due to the passing of some rather traumatic events in the past about year and a half: don’t let anything stop you, and don’t let a single event, however terrible, define you. Inspired by these thoughts, I signed up for a poetry recital to be held in the English department. I have been a secret poetry writer for years and never really thought that would change. With some encouragement from my friends Sara and Yara, I sent in my very personal poem.

poetry.jpg

On Thursday (29.11) we gathered in one of the rooms at the department, accompanied by some of our professors and fellow students. We listened to other students’ poems and to be honest, most were very skilled and strong. It was not surprising though that the themes ranged from the anxiety and depression stemming from the conflicts of our age, the difficulties of finding our way to, of course, love.

Eventually got to recite our own poems. I was a bit nervous to be honest, but when I got up on the stage, all I could see and feel were the words I was reciting. Many of the students liked it, the professors too I guess, but their comments indicated that it should have used more abstract language in order to be more poetic. I do agree on a certain level, and most of my other poems are like that, but this time I was being deliberate in my straightforward way of addressing the topic of my poem: the person behind or as a cause of an extremely traumatic event.  I was addressing that person, blaming her, explaining how I felt about what she did. It just had to be that way. Even if it sounded more of a dramatic monologue. And in a way, bringing the text out to the world, to be heard by others felt like I would share the pain, thus diminishing it, or cutting it into tinier pieces. When I heard the applauds of the end, it was like I was freer, lighter, even if only a tiny bit.

me
Reciting the “happier” part of the poem

My poem talks about the day my son was born. I will attach it to this blog post for a reason. And that reason is not for that of attention, or that I just “like” others to read my texts. The poem is way too personal for that. But after the recital, I just felt like sharing the experience, the way I felt about it, the way someone’s carelessness can make you feel, is important. Maybe, just maybe, someone who is responsible for taking care of laboring women would read it and understand that we are to be treated like glass and with gloves of feather in that situation. Otherwise the day in which we are born as mothers and the day in which we meet our children may become the worst day in our lives.

I request kindness and sensitivity from all those who decide to continue this post and read the poem. 🙂

FIND ME MY SOUL

The joy of life
growing inside me
its flips and kicks and turns
warmed my heart
When will I meet you?  I wondered!

The day came with
its aches and pains and tears.
Contractions, they said
Why does it hurt so much?
I cried.

Then the eternal strength
of motherhood crept in me
whispering silent promises
of ease, of peace
of joy at the end
and I believed.

And so I breathed and
moved and sang and
even smiled
This is what we were
created to do, right?

But then you came
with your white jacket
self-imposed professionalism
with your glasses made of ice
with your deceiving smile
promising safety
delivering terror.

You came and violated me
with your gloved hands
leaving me vulnerable and
open, you
tore my soul out and poured it
onto the floor of that blue room.

Leave me alone! I wanted to say
But I was being suffocated
by the life-sucking mask
you forced on me

You cut into the depths
of my heart with your scissors,
and left me lying empty, consumed
on that steel coffin of yours.

You took the precious life
I’d been growing inside
and delivered him onto
strange gloved hands, far away.

Then isn’t that enough?
No! You wiped empty my
mind, my memory and left it
barren like the desert.
“So you wouldn’t be scarred my dear”
you said.

Scarred?
I’m scarred.
Scarred by you.

I looked into the eyes of my child, I held him
Empty empty. I can’t feel.
My soul lay forgotten
thrown into the rubbish of that blue room.

But the earth continued
its persistent cycle
despite of me
despite of my pain.

And he grew and grew
persistently.
Even though, I watered him with tears
and pain
and the longing for my lost soul.

And he blossomed one day,
opened his toothless mouth
into a smile
and placed his tiny fingers
on my heart and his bottomless
mysterious eyes said
“Mommy”

Right then
my soul found its way
from the abyss of
infinity
and slowly returned to inhabit
the ruins of my body
once again.

**************************************

I thank the English department from my heart for giving me the platform and the opportunity to recite the text and to listen to others do the same.

Leaving the “heavy stuff” behind, we did have a good time as well!

sarayarame
Yara, me and Sara, in that order 🙂

-Halima

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Yara says:

    Reblogged this on Red spirited creatures and commented:
    Could not have said it better

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loomy says:

      Thank you love ❤❤📚

      Like

  2. Randa Aboubakr says:

    Loved the poem, Loomi, and I do not find it lacking either abstraction or concreetness. It is just great and expressive the way it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loomy says:

      I’m super happy you think so ❤ it just felt right for it to be that way

      Like

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