Saliba Sarsar is the author and editor of several works on the Middle East, as well as three books of poetry. The first, titled Crosswinds (Mellen Poetry Press, 1999) includes impressions of a teenager experiencing Jerusalem under Jordanian and Israeli rule, and maturing in a land of “between war and peace.” The second, Seven Gates of Jerusalem (Kul-Shee, 2010) is a bilingual (English/Arabic) edition that weaves individual lives with the historical, the tangible with the unseen. The poems address overcoming adversity, the need for deliverance. In the third book, Portraits: Poems of the Holy Land, just completed and in search of a publisher, Saliba goes on a journey into memory, not as a way to relive the past, but to appreciate anew the significance of life and to imagine a better future for Palestinians and Israelis.
Saliba’s individual poems have appeared in a variety of venues, including Monmouth Review, Upstate Magazine, Voice of the Shore, The New York Times, This Broken Shore, Asbury Park Press, and Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature.
Saliba was born and raised in Jerusalem. He holds a doctorate from Rutgers University and is currently Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives at Monmouth University.
The golden moon melted into
glistening waves, caressing happy
faces in the dark. Red flashes sprayed
kisses in the silent air.
Why not love
the twinkling eyes of blue
Why not share
life’s bountiful beauty?
If not now, when?
If not you, who?
An eagle, with golden crown,
you glide through the deep blue sky.
Tiny creatures dance atop of you,
climbing your back, your sides.
Pilgrims worship in your crevices, and
celebrate with carnivals and rides.
You remain contented, assured of
your majestic beauty, your future.
More Times Than I Can Remember
I, living between the Jordan and the Med,
was drawn and redrawn more times than
I can remember. Names of cities and towns,
lakes and streams, mountains and valleys
vanished off my body countless times,
only to reappear clothed in religious garb
one day, nationalist garb the next.
Lines—some shallow, others deep—decorate
with their colors and shapes the ins and outs
of my being. Looking increasingly like Swiss
cheese, the winds of conflict blow through me
like a hurricane, twisting and shredding my limbs.
I long for the day when I am whole again.
Balance, justice, stability, peace must return!
Neither fried green tomatoes
Nor ground black pepper
Neither like water for chocolate
Nor of nuisance or of erasure
But of tiny circles on the sea
Of a gentle flower daring
To unclench herself
To be of use.
The cool night
delivered her to
the horizon of daybreak.
The orange silhouette
evaporated her dew.
She waited anxiously for
the creamy twilight
to envelope her,
to ease her pain.
the fathomless sea
soothed her body.
golden moons and distant stars
purified her soul.
She stands by
the edge of the universe
listening to life’s symphony,
watching the parade of time.
He travels the deep blue
alone, searching ….
Softened by millennial waves,
red smooth rocks mirror battle
scenes fought in aqua waves.
Jugged shells radiate sharp
pain, last breaths of body,
not soul. In silence,
He catches glimpses of teary
eyes watching him, extended
hands welcoming him from
exile, solitude in the wild.
For other contributions by Saliba Sarsar, please follow the link below:
Poetry in this post: © Saliba Sarsar
Published with the permission of Saliba Sarsar