Image by Maitane Azurmendi: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License

Hibu Abu Nada (1991-2023) was killed along with her son in Gaza by an Israeli airstrike on 20th October 2023. She was an internationally renowned poet and novelist. A few days earlier she published her final poem on X, formerly Twitter.

Gaza’s night is dark apart from the glow of rockets, 
Quiet apart from the sound of bombs,
Terrifying apart from the comfort of prayers,
Black apart from the light of martyrs.
Goodnight, Gaza.

When I heard the news of her death I wrote this.

A SONNET FOR GAZA
Am I alone in feeling guilty when
I feel the deaths of poets more than those
Whose deaths, the women, children and the men,
Are equal in their agony of loss?
We’ve lost their hopes and dreams 10,000 fold:
Blasted, bombed and buried under rubble
Before they had the chance to see their story told,
In witness to their lives that were so noble.
Except that they were captured in the words
Of poets who were living in their midst.
Dreams and dangers, perils, nightmares shared
And that is why the poets are so missed.
In Gaza, where their lives, their pens are broken,
Those that survive will hear their words still spoken.

Mike Stanton – 21st November 2023

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