Should I dream now,
I choose to go back to my brothers and sisters,
to the days of innocence and peace.
It seems so far, like distant winds.
All I hear now are bombings,
hurting my ears like endless thorns.
Houses and buildings collapsing.19
With many women, men, children remaining trapped inside.
This is Syria, my country, recaptured and besieged.
Like a prisoner behind walls of dictatorship, of persecution.
My soul feels betrayed, my heart torn into pieces.
And now they have come to take us away
from the village.
And I know there is no turning back to the young Hayet who only dreams of life.
And while they inflict their power and suffering,
I close my eyes and go back to the days with my sisters in the field.
One of my brothers takes me by the hand.
‘ Hajet , come let us play.’
I follow him and we play.
It was a beautiful memory.
Only, when I open my eyes, I realize it is not my brother.
Someone else comes.
I close my eyes, hoping to avoid the pain.
Again, the sun is shining on our cheeks and I am back to the days of innocence.
I am free again to dream of peace.
When all is over.
This poem was written by Mary Anne Zammit, on the theme of women in Aleppo which has been published in an International Collection of Poetry and Prose on the Bravery and Horror of War, compiled by Robin Barratt.