When the universe offers an entire country but you yearn for simpler things


'What is Aleppo' is a poem written by Syrian refugee Sarina Mouzenian, a cry from the heart for the now-devastated city she fled seven years ago.

The roots of my soul. The source of my blood flow. The heartache I retain, sheltered in sorrow. The blooming love, exalted through the singing heartbeats composing the sense of home we carry in our souls.
The waking up, early in the morning, to the street vendor riding his carriage and yelling the prices of the watermelons
Over the sound of the footsteps of his horse.
The car horns blasting over the policemen's whistles blowing,
Trying to operate the traffic while we're trying to cross the road.
The family gatherings at our grandparents' household.
The laughter of our loved ones. Tea after lunch followed by the afternoon nap, before the waking of the city at night.
The smell of the spices in the souk of the city and my unstoppable sneezing, walking through its alley.
The queen of our hearts, the Citadel of Aleppo and the countless memories our spirits hold in between the chasms of its old walls.

The melody of the oud
Playing, spellbound by the muezzin
Calling for the prayer
along with the bells of the church ringing.

The theft of the children's innocence
The destruction of this ancient inhabited city.
The loss of many lives
The non-recognition.
The forgetfulness

Home is what matters, four walls with the lilac nude colour, that beautiful portrait to those warm arms of yours that held me once. This is a conflicted universe where nothing makes sense, because you stop thinking about anything and go to the peaceful place side of your mind that you have barely been in contact with.
Maybe you're just lying, maybe that isn't peace but you're craving that so bad that every little thing reminds you of home.
Unfortunately, I didn't find home where I was born but somehow I feel like that was my home because of the way my mum made me feel, the laughter, the early mornings and that old souk in the city, which is now destroyed.

It's ironic how the universe works, it offers you an entire country, yet you choose a simple heart
From Aleppo, she has nothing.
They collectively have so little.
Homes bombed. Leveled. Gone.
Their families? The same. Gone…
You have everything but you ask for more. You all, Collectively, have too much.
Your homes standing, whole, there.
Your families? The same.
I'll be in Australia praying for Aleppo,
Letting the pain take my breath away.
You'll be the Chemical splash on my eyelids, taking my flesh away.


©2019 UNSW Sydney All Rights Reserved.
Logo for Hamburger menu