Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from "Mirrors of Absence"

Faraj Ahmad Bayrakdar was born in Homs, Syria, in 1951. He studied Arabic at the University of Damascus. He was arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence in 1987 on suspicion of membership of the Party for Communist Action. He was held incommunicado for almost seven years and was tortured. In 1993 he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Bayrakdar was released in November 2000 following an amnesty without obligation to renounce his political activities. He left to Sweden and has been living there since 2005.The following are excerpts from “Mirrors of Absence,” a long poem Bayrakdar wrote in Saydnaya prison between 1997- 2000. Translated by Sinan Antoon. The Arabic original can be read here.

Mirrors of Absence 

These mirrors could have been
pure rain
or pure silence
But things were made of stone
The clinking of time and space
was bloodied
with what resembles madness
or gods

for what has to go
for what has to come
for what succumbs to silence
and never returns

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Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from “Mirrors of Absence”

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