Original image posted at Deviant Art.

Original image posted at Deviant Art.


When a woman loves a man,
when she opens
her self to him,
he can hurt her
even by silence,

She should keep
some defenses,
a piece of her shield
but it's mostly impossible
if love is love
She unfolds

If he is not noble
If he is not clean
of heart
If he has not learned
she is done for

Poetry is like being in love
with the world

~ From Mohja Kahf’s unpublished love poetry manuscript written in 1999.

(Photo by Russell Cothran, courtesy of University of Arkansas Public Relations Office.)

(Photo by Russell Cothran, courtesy of University of Arkansas Public Relations Office.)

Mohja Kahf  is a Syrian-American poet and novelist.  Her first collection of poetry, E-mails from Scheherazad, evokes the mixture of pride and shame involved in being an “other,” with characters balancing on the line between assimilating and maintaining the habits of a good Muslim.  In addition to contemporary Muslim women, Mohja’s poetry also explores figures from Islamic history including Hagar, the wife of the prophet Abraham, Khadija and Aisha, wives of the Prophet Muhammad, and Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.  According to The New York Times, her writing on contemporary subjects “draws sharp, funny, earthy portraits of the fault line separating Muslim women from their Western counterparts.” Of the intersection of Islam and art, Mohja says: “One of the primary messages of the Qur’an is that people should recognize the beautiful and do what is beautiful. This is not simply a moral beauty but a visual and auditory beauty as well. Conduct should be beautiful, writing should be beautiful and speaking should be beautiful.”

2 Comments on “Poetry”

  1. I’m in love with Mohja Kahf’s love poetry. MORE!