Ibaa Ismail



Ibaa Ismail is a Syrian American poet. She was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1962. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Tishreen University in Syria, then she continued her graduate studies in English and American Literature at Eastern Michigan University. Her talent started to shine when she was an undergraduate student. She Participated in a festival for young writers and poets sponsored by the students union and the Arab Writers Union for three years in a row, 1984, 1985, and 1986. In the summer of 1986, she moved to the United States with her husband Dr. Jamal Alghanem to pursue their graduate studies. She published eight collections of poetry: Horses of Light and Alienation (1999), Songs of the Soul (2001), The Light of my Nations for children (2005), Inflammation of An Emigrant (2007), The Awakening of Fire and Jasmine (2009), You are My Childhood in The Poem (2011), A Butterfly in the Arctic of Light (2013), I Sing the Dove’s Song to The Nation (2015). She Participated in many literary performances and symposiums sponsored by different American and Arab American cultural clubs and universities such as Bint Jebail Cultural and Social Club, Writers Without Borders Organization, Access, Creative Art center, University of Detroit Mercy, Chicago University, DePaul University. She had been participating in “Poetry Under The Stars” festival with the University of Michigan students since 2010, which was held and sponsored by Flint, Planetarium in Michigan. In the summer of 2016, she participated in Literary Arts Windsor at Art in The Park. In November 2016, she participates in a Book Fest in Windsor, Canada. She has received numerous Honorary awards from Arab American Associations and universities.

Ibaa Ismail’s poems are translated from the original Arabic into English by the poet herself.


My Father

Tell me my Father
How’s the world flourishing
In your exile?!
How’s the soil becoming tender
and illuminating your days and nights
You are the shimmer,
which bloom my allegiance
For the flower of your contentment.

The Grass 

Hey grass,
You are contemplating
the rivers of memory
in the season of alienation and forgetfulness.
Hey grass,
You are coming
from the firebrands of poetry
To fall down like a fire of love, war or volcano.
Could you grant me
the green of your wings,
So I can ascend in my flight?!

The Flame Child

(To the children of Iraq and Syria)

Who would sing for a sparrow
nesting over the wound of the
palm trees?
Who would sing the assassinated
palm trees?
Who would deliver these olive branches
of their wounds
or stop their tears,
or hear their agonies under the
silent sky?
I don’t have the dreams, the
colors of roses;
For my flowers, my roses
do not dream anymore.
I don’t have the strings for
a dress…
In vain, my life bleeds under
the barren sky.
My body was cut to bread and
meat to feed the tattered, the
lost, the filth of some hyenas
who were named as men, the
guardians of evil.
* * *
I came to you
with glory and eagerness.
Yet, my heart is crying for years
over the nation of sadness.
I am your voice;
I am your sorrow;
I am what will remain
of the roots of your glare,
under the moaning of the stars.
* * *
From my blood, ascending
like the sun,
under the sting of an inferno.
I sing your pain.
Our parents out there waiting
for the roars of horses and
the earthquakes,
in the latitude of our captured voice?!

I came to you as a hopeless child,
killed without a prayer
and buried with the nation’s
April wheat spikes!..
How could my childhood’s soul
awaken to ignite some flames,
to spread its white peaceful wings,
over the endless sky?!
How could I ignite your consciences
with the tears of my blood?
How could I share with you,
the tears of flowers, of vanity, of sadness,
like a blossom
or an uproar?!
How can my spirit release its pollen
to raise in the horizon a song of anger
and peace?





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