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Syndic Literary Journal


Written by Hussein Habasch

Translated from the Kurdish by Muna Zinati

Narrated by Bill Wolak



What is happiness, father?

It’s a bird that forgot his feathers

and wings in the desert, son!


What is life, father?

It’s a boiled egg

We are in it, son!


What is human, father?

He is an acrobatic dancer on the edge of the abyss, son!


What is isolation, father?

It’s separating the soul from all the world’s aspects, son!


What is love, father?

They said, it’s a healthy sickness, son!


What is future, father?

It’s a sun that only shines on the lucky ones, son!


What are tears, father?

It’s a rain that missed its way, son!


What is bravery, father?

It’s a ball of fire that rotates inside the heart, son!


What is pain, father?

It’s a shirt we wear from our birth to our death, son!



Hussein Habasch is a poet from Afrin, Kurdistan. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany. His poems have been translated into English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Turkish, Persian, Albanian, Uzbek, Russian, Italian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Polish and Romanian. In addition, his poetry has been published in a large number of international poetry anthologies. His books include: Drowning in Roses, Fugitives Across the Evros River, Higher Than Desire and More Delicious than the Gazelle’s Flank, Delusions to Salim Barakat, and A Flying Angel. He participated in many international festivals of poetry including ones in the following countries: Colombia, Nicaragua, France, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Morocco, Ecuador, El Salvador, Kosovo, Macedonia, Costa Rica, Slovenia, China, Taiwan, Cuba, Sweden and the United States.

Muna Zinati is from Jordan. She was born in 1980, and lives between Amman, Jordan, and Washington DC.

Sinan Antoon is an Iraqi poet, novelist, scholar, and literary translator. He is an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.



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