Het prijswinnende gedicht van een dertienjarig gevlucht meisje

Amineh Abou Kerech vluchtte uit Syrië en leerde binnen een jaar dichten in het Engels. Vorig jaar won ze de prestigieuze Betjeman Poetry Prize met haar gedicht 'Lament for Syria'. Op World Poetry Day (21 maart) delen wij haar ode aan haar geboorteland dat al zeven jaar wordt geteisterd door een burgeroorlog.

Syrian doves croon above my head
their call cries in my eyes.
I’m trying to design a country
that will go with my poetry
and not get in the way when I’m thinking,
where soldiers don’t walk over my face.
I’m trying to design a country
which will be worthy of me if I’m ever a poet
and make allowances if I burst into tears.
I’m trying to design a City
of Love, Peace, Concord and Virtue,
free of mess, war, wreckage and misery.


Oh Syria, my love
I hear your moaning
in the cries of the doves.
I hear your screaming cry.
I left your land and merciful soil
And your fragrance of jasmine
My wing is broken like your wing.

I am from Syria
From a land where people pick up a discarded piece of bread
So that it does not get trampled on
From a place where a mother teaches her son not to step on an ant at the end of the day.
From a place where a teenager hides his cigarette from his old brother out of respect.
From a place where old ladies would water jasmine trees at dawn.
From the neighbours’ coffee in the morning
From: after you, aunt; as you wish, uncle; with pleasure, sister…
From a place which endured, which waited, which is still waiting for relief.

I will not write poetry for anyone else.

Can anyone teach me
how to make a homeland?
Heartfelt thanks if you can,
heartiest thanks,
from the house-sparrows,
the apple-trees of Syria,
and yours very sincerely.


Dit doen wij voor Syrische vluchtelingen

Meer lezen over Amineh Abou Kerech

Bron: Betjeman Poetry Prize
Foto: Jon Lewis (Oxford Mail)
Illustratie: Chris Riddell (The Guardian)