By Riyad al-Saleh al-Hussein

Translated by Ghada Alatrash

O Syria, beautiful and happy

like a fireplace in December

O Syria, miserable

like a bone between the teeth of a dog

O Syria, cruel

like a scalpel in the hand of a surgeon

We are your kind offspring

who ate your bread and olives and stomached your lashes

Eternally shall we lead you to wellsprings

Eternally shall we dry your blood with our verdant fingers

and your tears with our dry lips

Eternally shall we pave paths for you

and we will not leave you abandoned, O Syria,

like a song in a desert.



 رياض الصالح الحسين

يا سورية الجميلة السعيدة
كمدفأة في كانون
يا سورية التعيسة
كعظمة بين أسنان كلب
يا سورية القاسية
كمشرط في يد جرَّاح
نحن أبناؤك الطيِّبون
الذين أكلنا خبزك و زيتونك و سياطك
أبدًا سنقودك إلى الينابيع
أبدًا سنجفِّف دمك بأصابعنا الخضراء
و دموعك بشفاهنا اليابسة
أبدًا سنشقّ أمامك الدروب
و لن نتركك تضيعين يا سورية
.كأغنية في صحراء

Riyad al-Saleh al-Hussein, despite dying at the age of just 28, published four collections that deeply marked Syrian poetry.

Ghada Alatrash, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Critical and Creative Studies at Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, Canada. She holds her PhD in Educational Research: Languages and Diversity from the Werklund School of Education, the University of Calgary, and a Master’s Degree is in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma.  Her current research speaks to Syrian art and creative expression as resistance to oppression and dictatorship.