This collection of 56 poems explores love, nature, time, and the author’s Palestinian homeland. Through short, mostly rhymed verse, readers get a glimpse of the speaker’s fears and desires.
The poem “Cypress Trees,” for example, shares the familiar lament of what could have been between two people. “A lonely pair of cypress trees/ Reach on high, as to kiss the sky,/ Then bend and sway with wind and breeze/ Yet never touch as hard they try.” Likewise, “Pretty but Cold” compares a woman to weather: “But would she thaw with the snow,/ As this winter melted to spring?/ I hope so but wish I know./ What would May with it shall bring?”
One unrhymed poem, “God,” takes a surprisingly rational (rather than poetically emotional) approach to understanding a higher power: “The universe must have/ ‘Begun to exist.’/ Therefore, ‘One causer,/ Who is not caused,’/ Will be a more probable/ Initiator than not,/ And we call him God.”
More than a dozen poems concern the subject of Palestine, some showing reverence and yearning for lost land, others leaning more toward anger toward the opposition. From “Freedom Fighter’s Song”: “I pledge to propel my growing wrath/ Farther into the aggressor’s depth,/ Till dignity crowns again my life/ Or till I shall meet a martyr’s death.”
While the poetry voices compelling emotion, it suffers from a few flaws. Awkward language (“Laid down the thorny herb—/ It couldn’t avoid but live”) and forced rhyme (“The honeybees are fast enough to sting;/ Beneath each stone a host of snails does cling”) detract from the work’s effectiveness. Also, better organization would have made for a more cohesive read; for example, love poems and Palestine poems are scattered throughout instead of grouped together. Nine black-and-white photographs are included, but some are out of focus, dark or too small to be compelling.
With editing for style, cohesiveness, and organization, this uneven collection could be more enjoyable for readers seeking poetry from the author’s perspective.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.