Friday, January 05, 2018

New Poetry by Mohammad Ali Maleki


First the wolves and jackals united
to rule and control us.
Then the vultures and rooks
wanted a share in our torture
and became guards.
The jungle trees joined in,
promising thick branches for axe-
handles to sever our roots and limbs;
pouring our blood on the ground
for the beasts to feast on.

Next the swamps and rivers united
to stop our water.
The wheat-farmers and millers
agreed to deny us bread.
The clouds colluded with the sky
to throw their rain on the desert
and leave us thirsty.
And the storms conjoined
with the winds to crush us
like autumn leaves under their boots.

All worked together to harvest
our humanity, manhood and bravery—
killing kindness and planting their curses instead.

- Mohammad Ali Maleki 2018

(translated by Mansour Shoshtari)

Mohammad Ali Maleki is an Iranian poet and avid gardener who has been living in detention on Manus Island for four years. His poem ‘The Strong Sunflower’ was the first work published on Verity La’s Discoursing Diaspora project. Since then, Mohammad’s writing has been published by Bluepepper and by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. He has been a featured poet on Rochford Street Review, and his poems and letters have been included in the Dear Prime Minister project and at the Denmark Festival of Voice.  His poem ‘Tears of Stone’ was shortlisted for the Red Room Company’s New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and received Special Commendation for extraordinary work in extreme circumstances.

1 comment:

Linda Stevenson said...

Another brilliantly heart-breaking poem by Mohammad Ali Maleki. A fine translation assists in making the message so clear.