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"Each person has two homelands: His own and Syria"

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Aboud SalmanSyrian born artist Aboud Salman has fourteen exhibtions of his work throughout Syria. He has published eight books about plastic art. Click HERE to visit his online gallery and personal website.

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Nizar Qubbani, Poet

Nizar QubbaniOne of the most prominent literary figures in the Arab world, the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani died in London. Mr Qabbani, who was 75, became popular in the fifties after he published a volume of love poetry. He was known throughout the Arab world for his love poems which often focussed on the feelings of Arab women living in male-dominated societies.

His love poems have been turned into immensely popular songs performed by some of the most famous singers of the region. Mr Qabbani started out in the Syrian diplomatic service before taking up poetry as a career and moving to Beirut in the 1960s.

Often referred to as the poet of love and women, his highly-sensual poems pushed the boundaries of what was considered appropriate in Arabic literature.

Nizar Qubbani profile from the Arabic Poems website.

A Poem by Nizar Qubbani Title (English): Bread, Hashish and Moonlight Title (Arabic): Khubzun wa Hashishun wa Qamar When the moon is born in the east, And the white rooftops drift asleep Under the heaped-up light, People leave their shops and march forth in groups To meet the moon Carrying bread, and a radio, to the mountaintops, And their narcotics. There they buy and sell fantasies And images, And die - as the moon comes to life. What does that luminous disc Do to my homeland? The land of the prophets, The land of the simple, The chewers of tobacco, the dealers in drug? What does the moon do to us, That we squander our valor And live only to beg from Heaven? What has the heaven For the lazy and the weak? When the moon comes to life they are changed to corpses, And shake the tombs of the saints, Hoping to be granted some rice, some children... They spread out their fine and elegant rugs, And console themselves with an opium we call fate And destiny. In my land, the land of the simple What weakness and decay Lay hold of us, when the light streams forth! Rugs, thousands of baskets, Glasses of tea and children swarn over the hills. In my land, where the simple weep, And live in the light they cannot perceive; In my land, Where people live without eyes, And pray, And fornicate, And live in resignation, As they always have, Calling on the crescent moon: "O Crescent Moon! O suspended God of Marble! O unbelievable object! Always you have been for the east, for us, A cluster of diamonds, For the millions whose senses are numbed" On those eastern nights when The moon waxes full, The east divests itself of all honor And vigor. The millions who go barefoot, Who belive in four wives And the day of judgment; The millions who encounter bread Only in their dreams; Who spend the night in houses Built of coughs; Who have never set eyes on medicine; Fall down like corpses beneath the light. In my land, where the stupid weep And die weeping Whenever the crescent moon appears And their tears increase; Whenever some wretched lute moves them... or the song to "night" In my land, In the land of the simple, where we slowly chew on our unending songs- A form of consumption destroying the east- Our east chewing on its history, its lethargic dreams, Its empty legends, Our east that sees the sum of all heroism In Picaresque Abu Zayd al Hilali

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