I remember as-Sayyab screaming into the Gulf in vain:
Iraq, Iraq. Nothing but Iraq.
And nothing but an echo replies
I remember as-Sayyab, in that Sumerian space
A woman triumphed over the sterility of mist
She bequeathed to us earth and exile . . .
For poetry is born in Iraq,
So be Iraqi to become a poet, my friend.
—Mahmoud Darwish, Nothing but Iraq
The wind gasps with the midday heat,
like a nightmare in the late afternoon
And on the masts, it continues to fold, to spread for departure
The gulf is crowded with them—laborers roaming the seas
And on the sand, by the gulf
A stranger sat—a baffled vision wanders the gulf
Destroying the pillars of light with the rising wail
Higher than the torrents roaring foam, than the clamor
A voice thunders in the abyss of my bereaved soul: Iraq
Like the crest rising, like a cloud, like tears to the eyes
The wind cries to me: Iraq.
The wave howls at me: Iraq. Iraq. Nothing but Iraq.
The sea is as wide as can be, and you are as distant
The sea is between you and me: Oh Iraq.
—Badr Shakir as-Sayyab, A Stranger by the Gulf