A Poem from Shaimaa El-Sabbagh: ‘I’m the Girl Banned from Christian Religion Classes’

Egyptian poet Maged Zaher has translated another work by the slain poet Shaimaa El-Sabbagh. This one was recorded on video and has been watched more than a hundred thousand times in the last week:

I’m the girl banned from attending Christian religion classes, and Sunday mass
Although I am a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus
In Train Station Square at the height of the morning
Even then, all the windows were open and the blood was racing the cars on the asphalt
The eyes of the girls were running in Heaven, catching the forbidden rocking chair.

I am the girl banned from love in the squares
I stood in the middle of the street and gathered in my hand the stars of the sky, individually,
And the sweat of the street vendors
The voices of beggars
And the people who love God as they damn this moment that the creatures of God approved
To crucifying Jesus naked in the crowded square on the clock arms as it declared one at noon
I, the girl banned from saying no, will never miss the dawn

Photo credit: Sarah Carr.



  1. 1

    I am the boy who is banned from the the girl who wants to learn about Christian religious classes,
    although neither of us were actually there at the crucifixion.
    though she claimed she was, and perhaps she was there in spirit,
    if such took place in the train square station.
    even then all the windows were open, if transfixed by light coming down from above.
    even then her eyes were transfixed on heaven catching what she said was a forbidden rocking chair,
    and other things more arcane which could only be described,
    by words that have no meaning in this world.

    I and the boy who is banned from the girl watching love in the squares.
    she wanted so bad to trd on that meaning,
    and gather the stars of the sky, each one joined to the next.
    she imagined that she was sweating the individual Street vendors,
    and the voices of beggars which she heard in her imagination.
    bus crucifying the crucified who is known as Jesus,
    though that is really his name, but a sign of the choosing of another generation.
    she bands from saying no, even as she says yes, please, yes.
    Shaimaa El-Sabbagh has left at least these words,
    even as Maged Zaher transcribed them to M Lynx Qualey.
    I wish you well, even though I did not actually meet you in the flesh.

  2. Reblogged this on asallime and commented:
    Gestern las ich diesen Artikel auf der Webseite der New York Times: “Egypt Condemns Western Outrage at Fatal Shooting of Protester” und kam aus meiner Wut kaum noch heraus. Dann, wenige Minuten später, fand ich über Twitter dieses Video, in dem jene Shaimaa, über die ich in meinem kurzen Blogtext “A Bad Year For The Roses”, der vermutlich besser “A Good Time For Despotism” heißen sollte, eines ihrer Gedichte vorträgt. Auf dieser Seite gibt es auch eine englische Übersetzung des Gedichts. Was für ein Verlust! So viele Verluste…

  3. شهيدة الورود خالدة في قلوب عشاق الحريّة

  4. that touched me. tears in my eyes, smile on my face. strength.

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