“Sarajevo” by Hussein Habasch

“Sarajevo” by Hussein Habasch

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Sarajevo

By Hussein Habasch

Translated by Shurouk Hammoud

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

Clouds that waddle in her wide lap

are drawing:

white cats,

dogs that bark cotton,

foamy horses which roam the horizon,

sparrows with long silver beaks peck the void,

kids kicking fast fading and dissolving balls,

kites that strut in peace,

fluffy butterflies and bees those sting the cheek of the sky.

The clouds also draw

Shadows of women wearing white shawls;

extending their immaculate hands to embrace the houses of the city,

house by house, window by window and doorstep by doorstep.

mothers who were lovers and guardians of hope.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue! 

The trace of iron and deadly black smoke have vanished

The trace of the planes’ engines and their terrifying screams have vanished.

The impact of the bombs

and their insane explosions has vanished.

the impact of toxins and mined gifts has vanished.

The trace of snipers and their deadly bullets’whir have vanished.

It is over, whatever grieves Sarajevo’s heart is over.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

Tyrants perished but what remained is Sarajevo.

invaders perished but what remained is Sarajevo.

The cruel people perished but what remained is Sarajevo.

The aggressor perished but what remained is Sarajevo.

The tyrants perished but what remained is Sarajevo.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart.

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

On the sidewalks of Sarajevo; happiness walks with two reassuring feet.

on its balconies; roses bloom fragrantly.

Birds exult in its trees

and hope nourishes its face and roots that go deep in history.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

At a small and cozy restaurant,

my friend Mustafa Kordovic (Beko),

who came from Kobanî almost half a century ago,

will tells me that he refused to leave Sarajevo during the war.

He refused to keep his heart, hands and will folded,

He left the shelter,

carried his heart and joined the resistance!

Now, he has a bullet in his foot,

eternal freedom in his heart

and the medal of Sarajevo on his chest.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

The rivers divide cities with water and pebbles;

building bridges of love over cities’ cheeks.

Rivers reduce cruelty

and heal the wounded souls of the cities.

the rivers wipe layers of despair that accumulated in the hearts of people

Providing their arteries love and optimism.

Hello River of Sarajevo!

Hello to your balm that healed and still heal

all the wounds that the body of the great city suffered.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!  

Sarajevo collected grief and pain

and walked with swollen and errant steps wherever it goes

now wherever it looks and moves;

Sarajevo now spreads joy and hope.

Sarajevo used to be on crutches;

now with two wings, it flies.

Sarajevo is running towards the future

and embracing all sides of the world

Sarajevo  is sowing the seeds of life everywhere.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

the director of the Museum of literature has told me

that theater and poetry are the ones who saved the city

not only the fighters’ guns!

I believed her words without hesitation,

I believed her breathes and the blinks of her eyes.

I believed her smile that was as pure as fountains.

I believed her jaunty movements

I believed everything in her.

I believed what she said

because I heard the same talk from a reliable source

from the honest heart of the city.

Yes, the shelters all have turned to theaters

that resist war and missiles with poetry and arts.

Sarajevo has fought death and affirmed life.

Sarajevo resisted hate and gave love,

It resisted rancor with forgiveness.

with the word, it resisted the bullets, which were pouring down from all sides.

Theatre, poetry and tales were the nerves

that relieve pain and keep the specter of war away!

Long Live Sarajevo’s Museum of Literature!

Long live Sarajevo’s heart that is full of poems, theater, literature

and endless stories!

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue! 

Filmstrip that is full of pigeons

from top to bottom, for Sarajevo.

a painting that is colored with unfading smiles for Sarajevo.

Love poems from the beginning of the earth to the end of it, for Sarajevo

Narrations that overflow with great stories about Sarajevo, 

Stories overflowing with narrations

that glorify Sarajevo, for Sarajevo

And stories with open sleeves,

to which, birds step inside and build their nests, for Sarajevo.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!  

like linen hats, the mountains sit

over Sarajevo’s head.

like mythical umbrellas over Sarajevo’s head, the mountains stand.

like banners of freedom, the mountains rise over the head of Sarajevo.

The mountains are barricades that keep harm away from the head of Sarajevo.

The mountains are the twin brothers of Sarajevo,

which cannot live without the pulse of Sarajevo.

I stepped up

and stood on top of the highest mountain

which overlooks Sarajevo,

Then, with amazement, I looked at the houses of the city

They seemed to me as white doves dozing meek and reassuring, 

Without nightmares to disturb their dreams,

without despair crosses their mind

or snakes stinging their bodies.

No thorns that scratch their pride

or tears that wet their eyes. 

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

Sarajevo, Oh, Sarajevo! 

your bread was sour,

coming out of the bombed ovens;

burnt and dipped in the smell of blood and fear!

It is freshly baked now.

It comes out of the ovens warm and hot, mixed with sunbeams,

with scent of carnation and jasmine.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

Sarajevo, Oh, Sarajevo! 

In your heart, the flame of freedom will always be burning

Pigeons will always flutter in your sky

wake-up call will always be like earrings in your ears.

Bouquets of roses will always be scattered over the graves of your martyrs,

Green amber will always shine from your eyes.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

Sarajevo, Oh, Sarajevo!

Springs flow of your heart

Rivers run in your veins,

Rain fall on your long hair,

Water washes your clothes, 

and the gazelles of the Kurdish poet graze in the fields of your beauty

and never get enough of the wine of your pubs.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart!

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue! 

In your heart, I have beautiful and pure friends

Who guard your beauty

poem by poem,

Novel by novel,

Word by word,

Sentence by sentence

and character by character

They never hesitate to keep it in their great hearts:

Mile Stojić

Hadžem Hajdarević

Bisera Alikadić

Nazif Hasanbegović

Hajrudin Somun

Edib Kafadar

Naida Mujkić

And Mustafa Kurdović (Beko) who came from Kobanî.

Peace be upon you, my friends!

Heart by heart

Soul by soul

Beauty by beauty

purity by purity

nobleness by nobleness

and peace by peace.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart.

The sky above Sarajevo is clear and blue!

It will be always clear above Sarajevo.

Peace be upon you, Sarajevo!

Peace be upon your vibrant heart.

Sarajevo/ Bonn 2022

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