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our temples are broken
sunlight squatting
on their rubble
the moon air stirring
through their cracked domes

our lips are worn,
torn with mouthing
foreign prayer

our dead children

our eyes are empty
with gazing, as brutes
tell us who we are, smashing
our relics, hammering
through our past

the altar sings, rising
from its dusty sleep,
wakening a dying world

we dream as we drift
toward worship,
grown inert

concrete, marble, bones
old empires,
crumbled beneath our feet

as we fail to see
what it is we seek

By: Rafey Habib

Temple by Rafey Habib Copyright Reward Publishing 2020​


Children play along the grass
While statesmen kneel with flowers;
Their sons asleep beneath their play,
Who brought it all to pass.

And these symbols will return
From deep jungles, ancient deserts,
Will breathe their death into our Spring.
Haunt us in their very living.

They who died before their time:
Living in guilt over children slain
Or women wailing by broken walls:
They will bring their dead with them,

Unwanted, intruding in our lives,
Shaking dust on our clean schedules,
Soiling our marriages, parching children:
O they will bring the desert with them,

As we greet them climbing down from planes
Searching for our loved ones, as we hug,
Beneath their hardened uniforms:
But they bring their dead with them:

Faces that will not leave, spinning
Through their sleep, rising daily
Like mirages, mirroring:
They will bring their death to us.

By: Rafey Habib

War Monument by Rafey Habib Copyright Reward Publishing 2020​


sitting at their Ramadan table, smiling,
the young boy, sister, parents, waiting
for the fast to end, war to begin.

who knew, as they joyed at
their hunger’s end, what
a few long years would do

the father dragged away, ancient
hatred knocking in the night
who knows if he lives, or languishes
I shall not see his like again

my mother too sad to cry,
sitting at table with cancer in her eyes,
my sister Fatin looking to me
for a solace I could not find

these days are an endless fast:
this ancient nation broken,
our house – the house of war – in ruins;
blood on every wall,
I do not know where to look

there is no smile left in me:
inside, all I see is dying:
they strangle faith daily, its bodies
strewn along the roadsides

and on the frontiers, now unguarded,
the vultures waiting
around our table, are set
to spread their mighty metal wings

By: Rafey Habib

Metal Wings by Rafey Habib Copyright Reward Publishing 2020