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Ekphrastic Poetry Contest 2013

Cheryl Horton

1st Place

Beautiful Sister (الأخت جميلة )

Who were you, who are you?
What past mysteries can you reveal?
I want to know you; to be known.
How deep is your agony? What do you feel?

Impossible it seems, to traverse the chasm
Lost in language; unheard, across culture and time
To meet the heart, mind, and soul behind your eyes
A mystery unreasonable, lacking rhythm, without rhyme

Your eyes so passionate, angry, forlorn,
You garment of mourning, covers your shame,
The defiant calligraphy, by style and word reveal,
The unknown language of woman lost, without a name

Where did you walk that your soles are so worn?
When did your thoughts cease to struggle for liberty?
Who broke your heart and used you and owned you?
Like a lamb to the slaughter, led without sympathy

But as I listen with my eyes,
And open my heart, my soul, to your fate
Now I begin to realize, to know
The woman you were, distant sister, soul mate

Your suffering, my sister, has not been in vain
For I am empowered to release you from shame
To cry out for you all, my kindred in chains
To look on your suffering and know your true name;
الأخت جميلة