Akram Alkatreb: Syria – USA: was born and raised in Salamiah, Syria; a city renowned for its poets. He attended the University of Damascus, graduating with a degree in law. Alkatreb has worked as an art critic and journalist since 1996, contributing to many major Arabic publications. He has published six poetry collections, and one in Spanish. He has participated in many poetry festivals in USA and around the world. He lives in America since 2001.
For the sake of poetry, 5,000 years old
I didn’t believe poetry is 5000 years old. I didn’t know the clouds I used to follow in my childhood to the mountains, close to the field of sunflowers will become magic carpets for unfulfilled dreams. I used to visit these places where the old poets used to sit, after crossing thousands of miles to read a line of poetry, then wander to an unknown land.
In Mesopotamia, the Canaanite coast, and the Nile Valley, the gods were inventing writing and poetry was written in the language of the wind’s inhabitants.
There are people building their hanging gardens alone. The portrait of al-Mutannabi on horse, wandering between Aleppo and the cities of Hama, was enough for me, and al-Mu’rri whose blindness didn’t prevent him from knowing the world and traveling it without leaving threshold of his house.
And Sarkon Pols who left his city, Kirkuk, in 1960s for Beirut, crossing rivers and the desert under the burning Iraq sun, holding under arms poems he wrote for the sake of Poetry Magazine.
Or Egyptian poet who described the two arms of his beloved with honey and gold 3,000 years ago.
There is no eternal truth, or specific dictionary that can explain the horrors that emerged from the secret nimbleness that erases the soul and saves it.
Sapho’s Greek heart will pulse until death. Homer will build Ithaca and send Odysseus to the oceans, while Penelope waits for him, or for other lovers, on the beach.
For the sake of poetry, 5,000 years old, Dante Alighieri was exiled from Florence, to be wanderer in exile, to feel hunger, and die of disappointment.
Rimbaud died in Abyssinia from gangrene, and Lorca was killed like a winged horse to the astonishment of Andalusian shepherd on the hill.
I didn’t believe poetry is 5,000 years old until I read Aragon’s poems about Elsa’s eyes.
It illuminated the blindness of the world, this slow, lazy one.