Verse Sanctum: Write your way to healing
By: Carpe Diem
The Carpe Diem team will dedicate the segment's upcoming issues to encourage everyone affected by the tragic Beirut blast to find psychological sanctuary in written verse. Submissions of either poetry or prose with a word count of 300-400 words will be compiled and shared with readers of Carpe Diem after being reviewed by the team. Through the "Verse Sanctum" initiative, we want to listen to your emotions, and provide for them a safe and welcoming haven.
Home by Lucia Sakr
I can feel my heart skip through
“… وحيات للي راحوا و للي صاروا الحنين”
Imagine a nightmare so intense
that an entire population goes through it.
Imagine the rising of a sadness so high,
to the point where even sky echoes our sobs.
Imagine a destruction so big,
where not only a city is entirely shattered, but millions of hearts.
And imagine, we still have hope,
even when we claim to be hopeless.
We see the light
even when we’re living in darkness.
It’s not only about feeling sadness.
It’s about being soaked up wet in your country’s tears.
It’s about getting paper cuts from the flag they tore apart.
It’s about feeling the sorrow of our cedars.
It’s about hoping for a miracle from Heaven, whether or not you’re a believer.
It’s about needing a higher power to save you,
in the times you’re desperate to have faith.
I want to believe we won’t consider survival an obligation, a luxury.
I want to believe that we can be happy.
I want to believe we’re going to survive
until we can see dreams actualizing in a land where they were meant to be crushed,
until we can see that same land transforming into the home we deserve,
where we feel safe and comforted,
the one we can rely on and return to when the world treats us unfair,
and not our home.
We all crave that home.
The one that consists of 10452 km² of magnificence and beauty,
From its south to its north.
Even though we feel as though we have forgotten
the meaning of Home,
but from what we are told,
can be pretty amazing.
Lucia is a Lebanese poet who describes her journey with poetry as the road towards healing. She's currently majoring in Journalism. At the time of the blast, Lucia felt the ground beneath her tremble, but nothing broke around her except hearts.
The Fallen City by Ali Hachem
Tonight, you stand in silence.
I walk through your hollow streets,
the lights snuffed out,
the bars closed down,
the roads empty,
and the meadows barren.
Beirut, O Switzerland of the East,
the city of culture,
the city of passion,
the city that throbbed life, love, and joy,
you stand alone in your misery,
No beat to your heart,
and no warmth to your soul.
It is through your silence,
I hear the night weeping in pain,
For a fallen city.
A fallen angel.
When the morning rises,
the birds won’t chirp in your trees,
and the children won’t play in your streets.
the wind will be still,
and the sea will be calm,
for the breeze and the waves,
that once carried your tales of wonder,
are too shy to carry your tragedy.
Beirut, O Phoenix,
hear me well,
when the Lebanese awaken,
we won’t be on our balconies,
listening to Fairouz,
and drinking our coffee.
We’ll be on your cracked streets,
clearing the debris
of what once were our homes,
Cleaning the ground soaked with blood.
We will rebuild you,
my dear Beirut.
Your towers will be raised high,
your streets will be lit up,
and your spirit resuscitated,
with your undying persistence.
We will bring you back to life.
Beirut, O Mother,
The sun will rise, and the birds will sing,
The wind will blow, even stronger than before,
Your scars will tell the story,
of a resistant city,
and a striving generation.
My love to you remains eternal,
And eternal I hope you’ll be.
Ali Hachem is a 20-year-old marketing student, translator, and hobbyist writer who has spent his entire life in Beirut. At the time of the explosion, Ali was at his friend’s apartment in Bchara El Khoury, only a few minutes away from the blast. He wrote this poem as a symbol of love and sorrow towards his beloved city, Beirut.
August Fourth by Leya Dagher
August fourth, what a soar-
6:07 pm, it felt like the very end.
I did not feel nor hear it for I am abroad on the other end.
But while the news was on, it hit me hard:
Should I be crying? Should I be raving? Should I make sure my loved ones are breathing?
It has been almost 2 weeks and I am still hurting.
It is shocking to some that my heart is still not healing.
My emotions are intertwining, everything is twisting.
The explosion burst through the television screen and busted me,
made me want to scream WHY THEM NOT ME?
Oh God, please have mercy,
Beirut and its people have nothing left but sunlight and sea,
my people lack their basic rights,
our government robbed all, even the city lights.
Our government stole our rights without letting us put up a fight.
Corona is a drawback, but our inept rulers kick harder back,
in their own bubble while our beautiful city is yet under the rubble.
But Beirut is ours to revive,
and it will rise.
Leya Dagher is a 19-year-old girl American Lebanese who moved back to America in January to finish her education in nursing school. Albeit physically distant, Leya left her heart in Lebanon. She wishes to return after completing her degree to help rebuild her country. She was abroad at the time of the explosion, but it hit her soul as hard as it would have done, were she in Beirut.
Welcome to Carpe Diem, Annahar's new literary section featuring prose and poetry- old and new, published or hiddaen within the nooks of unveiled pages of Lebanese writers. We welcome all contributions with the caveat that the section hopes to see rawness and authenticity in thought and emotion. Please send inquiries to Carpe Diem’s executive editor [email protected]