Every night I place this creature on my table
And pull its ears,
Till tears of joy come to its eyes.
Another cold winter, penetrated by airplanes
And soldiers sitting on the edge of a hillock,
Waiting for history
To rise up from the darkness of the marshes
With a gun in its hand,
To shoot angels
Training for the revolution.
Every night I put my hand on this country,
It slips away from my fingers,
Like a soldier running from the front.
— Fadhil al-Azzawi
Fadhil al-Azzawi was one of the many academics and activists incarcerated after the 1963 coup in Iraq. He spent two years in prison. In 1976, he was jailed again for reading his (banned) poetry in public. After his release, he fled to Germany. He has been living in exile since 1977