Five years since Syria started spiraling into darkness and still no flickering in the horizon.
Tishreen Park* by Diana Atwani
Damascus stretched its body
at the foothill of *Mount Qasioun,
waking up to a mosque call for prayer,
followed by the church bells at the corner.
Jasmine scent sneaked through windows.
Homing pigeons sang and danced on balconies,
in the early hours of a spring day.
- * *
I would send my son to school
and rush to Tishreen Park,
vibrant with life at the first light,
where people exercised and breathed clean air.
The lung of Damascus, they called it.
There, I met my friends.
Together we walked and jogged,
or we had our coffee sitting on the grass,
enjoying the vast glamorous green garden.
Tall trees aligned the paths,
Shading them with long extended branches,
as if in a fervent prayer,
bearing beautiful flowers,
red, yellow and violet.
Jasmine shrubs were all around,
and the park glowed with pride,
sharing its beauty with visitors
who came from all corners of the city.
- * *
Every time I peek into my heart,
this memory glitters alive.
reminding me of my beautiful Damascus.
Where I enjoyed the best years of my life.
Where swarms of sparrows
flew happily through the air,
flitting and playing between houses.
Where children played safely outdoor,
their joyful voices echoing in the streets.
Where cars’ lights, music and laughter,
lit up the late night hours.
- * *
The sparrows have fled the sky of Damascus,
now sealed by black clouds and hatred.
Children’s voices are muted,
by random shelling and explosions.
Soil is dampened with blood.
Nights are shredded with bombs and pain.
A sinister wind blows heavy air and aches.
Now Tishreen Park is deserted.
Its shaded areas are feared and suspected.
Jasmine shrubs have withered in mourning.
Swings squeak facing the wind alone.
Trees still pray but with sadness,
praying for peace to reign again.
- * *
I am far away hanging onto memories.
longing for a picture from home.
Restless, I look for a shred of news,
in TV, online, or in a newspaper.
I cry when I see homes ravaged by this insane war.
people in shelters, children running on the snow
wearing torn cloths and slippers.
No food, no schools, and sometimes
I feel guilty: I am not with them.
I am safe.
I am helpless.
*Tishreen Park: is one of the largest and popular parks in Damascus.
*Mount Qasioun: is a mountain overlooking the city of Damascus.