More poems in Arabic and English

Poems by the poet

What is pulling me to poetry more and more as the Syrian trsgedy continues to spiral towards the ultimate, is that poetry invents it own language and speaks with a logic that defies logic in its attempt to confront pain with vision and reality with insight, thus shifting reality to a plane of existence where healing is possible and where the future creates its own imperatives and likelihoods.

When the world fall apart

When the world falls apart

The Poet

When the world falls apart

When beauty is undone

When love dies

When all feelings are extinguished

When the planet collapses upon itself

When time is shattered and is lost

When fear is upon me

And my soul fragments

When history is expired

And the private and the public are dissolved,

The poet stands atop the ruins of the world

And plucks his kithara

Then he sings

Then he chants

The song of life.

The poet and Ruins of the world

The poet and Ruins of the world



                                                                      عندما ينهار العالم                                                                   

عندما يداس البهاء

عندما يموت الحب

عندما يسحق الوجدان

عندما تقف الدنيا هالعة فوق ركامها

عندما ينكسر الزمان ويضيع

عندما ياخذني الروع

وتتفتت روحي

عندما يفنى التاريخ العام والخاص

يركع الشاعر فوق الاطلال

ويشد اوتار قيثارته

ثم يغني ودموعه تضمخ الارض

ثم يغني

ثم ينشد

ثم ينشد انشودة الحياة

The poet  3  005 copy 

The poet and the owls

The poet stood and sang to the stars:
“It all started with poetry
And it shall end with poetry
As befits a poet.”
The poet sang and sang
The poet sang to the sea
And to the owls that
Stood in the pines gazing
Gazing with jewelled eyes.
“I did it, the poet cried. I did it
I returned to Syria the wanderer
For I am love the magician
I move my wand of talismans
And the one that was lost is found
The one with the gift of words is saved.
Then the poet bent his head sorrowfully
And walked into the lonely night,
Lonely are those who love
Lonely are those who carry
The wand that conjures life
For those who are laden with gifts
Are destined to be rent
From heart to soul.
Mankind cannot bear too much reality.

©Alisar Iram


The Rose and the Nightingale

The Rose and the Nightingale

The Rose and the Nightingale

Ring… Ring… Ring

The bells do Toll


But the missing beat is the one

 Ringing in my heart.

My heart has become

Not a continent,*

Not the pasture of gazelles,**

No, not a temple or a mosque or a cathedral**

For it has become a galaxy,

A universe

Where love treads and threads,

Dyeing the stars with the splendour

Of the red rose.

Must the nightingale die

So that the rose might

Shine in the night of the universe ?


With the plaintive beat of the Sufi ney,

Yet the beat that is missing is ringing in my heart

 Where the nightingale is singing its farewell.


This pain is but the thorns and briars of roses

And I was wounded but by a rose,

Says the nightingale singing clearer and gentler,

This pain is but for the rose.

This pain is but of the rose

The wild the beautiful red star,

Whispers the nightingale as it presses its soft breast

Closer and closer to the crimson glory of the rose.

 I have stretched my soul across the universe

And plucked then plucked again,

Chants the nightingale while its melody rises to revolve

Round the whirling stars.


As the bell dies down,

As its song rings its final notes,

As the bells stop tolling

And the missed beat in my heart also stops stops,

The nightingale becomes the rose

Soul of its soul.

How would you know in the magnificent glow of red,

Which is the nightingale and which is the rose

Which is the wound and which is the rising sun?

Alisar Iram

The NightingaleThe Rose


* Reference to Jhne Donne. See below

** Referenced to Ibn Arabi. See below

The rose is a sacred symbol found throughout the mystical writings and poetry of many religions. There are many Sufi references to the rose, as symbolizing the Divine beloved, to whom the earthy lover might become  a conduit, channeling divine love.  The sacred and the profane, the heavenly and the earthly become indistinguishable. Ibn Arabi, the Sufi mystics and some great Persian poets used the image profusely in their poetry.

As for representing the human soul by a bird, it is found in myth and mystical literature all over the world. The old Arabians thought of the soul as an owl or a bird leaving the body from the head as death occurred. The image of the bird, as a metaphor for the soul yearning for the beloved,  was repeatedly used in Arab and Islamic mysticism and poetry and in Persian literature. The nightingale, because of its haunting melodies,  became the lover who is in love with the rose, the Divine. As poetry is always very complex and multi-layered, the image gains in profundity and meaning according to the poet‘s vision.

My two direct sources of inspiration in this poem are two great mystics of Islam and Christianity, the great  Arab Medieval poet and mystic, Ibn Arabi ( 1156- 1240), and the great English Metaphysical poet, John Donne (1572-1631).  

My heart has now become recipient to all images

As it has turned into the grazing fields where gazelles play,

And into the monasteries where the monks pray, …

For I have embraced the creed of love, wherever it fares;

Love is my religion and love is my faith.   (Ibn Arabi)  

The tolling of the bell in the poem is the bell tolling in Donne’s poem:

 No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main…

Each man’s death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.  (John Donne)

©Alisar Iram    

البلبل والوردة The Nightingale and the Rose


 ايها الناقوس

رِنَ… رنَ… رنَ

رنّم… رنّم… رنّم

الا ان الرنة الضائعة هي الرنة

.التي تقرع في قلبي  

*لقد صار قلبي، لا، ليس قارة

*وليس مرعى لغزلان

وليس بيتا لاوثان

أوكعبة طائف

فلقد صار مجرّة

وصار هذا الكون الذي

يسري فيه الحب وينسج

صابغا النجوم

ببهاء الورة الحمراء.

هل يجب ان يموت البلبل الغريد

لكي تتالق الوردة في ظلام الكون؟

 The RoseThe Nightingale

رنَ… رنَ… رنَ


بصوت الناي الصوفي،

الا ان الرنة الضائعة هي الرنة

التي تقرع في قلبي

حيث يرتل البلبل

.نشيد الوداع

فما هذا الالم

الا شوك الورد

وطعنة الورد

،وانا لم يدمني الا  الورد،

يهتف البلبل صادحا

بعذوبة اعمق

.و صفاء ارق


،هذا الالم هو من اجل الوردة ومن الوردة

النجمة البرية الجميلة 

يهمس البلبل معانقا

وصدره يلثم الشوك

.اذ يغمره بهاء الالق القرمزي


لقد فرشت روحي على عتبات الكون

وشددت الاوتار ثم عزفت وعزفت،

ينشد البلبل

واغنبته تحلق وترتفع

.لتطوف حول النجوم الطائفة


وإذ يتلاشى رنين الاجراس

،ويشدوالبلبل لحنه الاخير

واذ يتوقف قرع النواقيس

واد تتوقف الرنة الضائعة في قلبي


 يغيب البلبل في الوردة

ويصبح روحا من روحها


كيف نعرف في بهاء النور

وتدفق الارجوان

من هي الوردة ومن هو البلبل؟

كيف نميز بين الجرح النازف

وبين قرص الشمس المندلع؟


اليسار ارم©


 * John Donne ـ الاشارة الى الشاعر الانكليزي

*  الاشارة الى ابن عربي في ديوان الاشواق

  • They have already loved

     The poem below, above my poem, is a translation (my own) of the verses that appear in my work of art . They are by the great Arab philosopher and theologian, Mawlana Ibn Arabi, 1156- 1240.

     My heart has now become recipient to all images

    As it has turned into the grazing fields where gazelles play,

    And into the monasteries where the  monks pray ,…

    For I have embraced the creed of love, wherever it fares;

    Love is my religion and love is my faith.

    I stood at the seashore and told the sea to love
    Because my heart was brimming with love
    And the sea loved
    I rose among the stars and begged the stars to love
    Because my heart was brimming with love
    And the stars loved
    I walked among the poets and philosophers and summoned them to love 
    Because my heart was brimming with love
    And the poets and philosophers loved.
    I stepped among the heroes of old and asked them to love
    Because my heart was brimming with love
    And the heroes of old loved
    I walked among the dead and dying and whispered to them to love
    Because my heart was brimming with love
    But found out that they have already loved 
    That their hearts were brimming with love.
    ©Alisar Itam

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