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A Poem By Farag Bayrakdar – The Rose and My Friend, Somehow

Elie Chalala

rose-1503881_960_720Exactly a short while ago
nine elegant bullets ago
In some revolver
or in the head.
Since a city embroidered with slogans
by day,
and sentenced to death
by night.
Since open borders
Known only to smugglers and shepherds,
until heavily guarded squares.
Since I don’t know
how many prisons and cells,
not in Santiago
nor in Baghdad.
Since the first citizen
crushed by the boots of an entire brigade.
Since God,
so beloved by the poor,
whose neutrality they hate in times of need.
Since what else?
Since you alone,
The rose you’ve been seeking has fallen.
It has fallen my friend.
And this rose I’ll place on your grave one day
is not
the Rose of Freedom

Damascus, 1981

Translated from the Arabic by Fawaz Azem
The original Arabic version of the poem can be found at

Fawaz Azem, who translated “The Rose and My Friend, Somehow” is a New York-based translator and author, with main interest in modern Syrian literature, especially poetry.

This poem appeared in Al Jadid (, Vol. 20, No. 71, 2016