A Poem for Refaat Alareer | Cassandra Voices

A Poem for Refaat Alareer


A Poem for Refaat Alareer

In the poem your butchers
fear to breathe, the murdered nurseries

are clean, the brimming
table-top restored – your every room

aflush with idleness again,
a bowl of flying spices

near to hand, the oven-bread
uplifted through the haze: a feast

the windy air will sing
from the open-hearted balcony

to the salted promenade below,
where a boy

is counting ripples out to sea,
and the market-men

are bundling their wares,
the coming dark

a gentleness
and rustling of wings:

no raining heat
or carnage to allay,

the waterways unpoisoned
by cruelty or death.

You see – the dream
your fingers fashioned like a sail

is soaring in the breeze;
your pen

outlives the bullets
of the eviscerator’s gun.


The Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer (1979-2023) was killed along with his family in Gaza on December 6th. His final broadcasted poem, “If I must die” makes reference to his statement in an interview that if soldiers arrived on his doorstep he would fling his pen, his only weapon, in their faces. 

About Author

Ciarán’s second collection, Phantom Gang, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2023. His first collection, The Buried Breath, was highly commended by the Forward Foundation for Poetry in 2019. Both are published by The Irish Pages Press.

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