Lock-in Literature: 4 Poems by Jan Dost

I am the yellow leaf that fell from the top of the maple tree
onto the sidewalk a while ago
and disappeared into the pile of the similarly yellow leaves.  
Normalcy in Every War
By Jan Dost
Translated by Mey Dost
At the beginning of the war
we counted the casualties daily
then we counted them hourly
and when the battles became more brutal
we counted the massacres. #
Jan Dost is a Syrian Kurdish novelist, poet and translator who lives in Germany. Yet now his heart has amassed ruins,
verses without rhyme in a hard, merciless poem. Nashwa Gowanlock
Bushra Fadil’s ‘Phosphorus at the Bottom of a Well.’   tr. It witnessed the noise of grandchildren in my mother’s room,
my father’s fights
and his shy flirtations when he was cheerful. I am the star up there that lurks shy and restless in the sky,
silently chewing on his pale light. It witnessed the sewing machine’s roar,
the crackling of fire in the iron chimney
and my mother’s melodies when she recited the Qur’an
or when she sang. Huda Fakhreddine
To support the   ongoing work of ArabLit and   ArabLit Quarterly,   consider buying an issue for yourself or a friend, or helping us out by donating through Patreonor PayPal, or, if you have one, by   asking your institution to take out a   subscription to the magazine. Karim Zidan
Ali el-Makk’s ‘Forty-One Minarets’,   tr. He writes poetry, short stories and novels in Arabic and Kurdish, and won many awards, including the Kurdish Short Story Award in 1993 and the Kurdish Poetry Award in 2012. #
A Boat
By Jan Dost
Translated by Mey Dost
When the refugee got on that boat at dawn,
he stared at the firmament
that had begun to pour out stars
and cried to God:
If you really want to murder me in this sea,
don’t let my grave be in a whale’s stomach
or on an angry wave’s back. Eventually nobody died anymore
there were no massacres anymore
and no cities that could have been bombed. But what you see now is someone
in a forgotten corner of a bar,
silent as a statue’s shadow,
sad as a lonely poplar at the shore of a parched river
somebody who drinks wine,
who bends down,
who cannot write on white paper,
who is the poet whose eyes once were filled with poems. Yes, oh Lord,
Bring them back my wet body
so they know that the sea did not swallow me
and that I came peacefully out of its waves. Lock-in Literature: 4 Poems by Jan Dost

This lock-in Monday, as part of our ongoing series of stay-at-home   literature (for those who are still at home, and those who aren’t), five poems by Syrian Kurdish writer Jan Dost, translated by his daughter, Mey Dost:
My Mother’s Clock
By Jan Dost
Translated by Mey Dost
Patiently it measured time for thirty years.  
By Jan Dost
Translated by Mey Dost
I am the lonely seagull that you see over there on the rock,
looking sadly at a miserable wave. The war was not over,
but those who used to count the casualties
had all died in the same war. Dost was born in Kobani in 1965. At least bring my body back to my family
my family that is burning
to receive a short message from me
in which I tell them: I have arrived. And when the war broke out,
the bombing knocked my mother’s clock to the ground. Nariman Youssef
‘A Street in the Pandemic’ & Other Poems by Jawdat Fakhreddine, tr. Mustafa Adam
Belal Fadl’s 2007 satire “Into the Tunnel,” tr. And when the fighters went insane
and the war set up its bloody tent over the whole country
we started counting the destroyed cities. Among his best-known translations is The Epic of Mem and Zin written by the acclaimed Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani. When my mother passed away one April morning,
the clock witnessed her ailing death rattle,
the dark room’s silence
and my bitter weeping. Adil Babikir
‘Eyes Shut’ by Rami Tawil, tr. Other translations in our stay-at-home series:
Issa Hassan Al-Yasiri’s ‘A Primitive Prayer for Uruk,’ translated by Ghareeb Iskander, with thanks to Hassan Abdulrazzak
Zakaria Tamer’s ‘The Flower,’ tr. It announced the catastrophe and then remained silent
forever. Marilyn Hacker
Lock-in Limited Release: Naguib Mahfouz’s ‘The Man in the Picture’, tr.