Jehan Bseiso, Palestine and Jordan

Warscapes Corona Notebooks

Jehan Bseiso reads "Sunrise on Mars," a work in progress during the pandemic. 

Thank you, Warscapes, for this opportunity to share during this exceptional and uncertain time all around the world. To be honest, like everyone, its been really difficult to find words to express how I feel about all this. Its been a time for staying quiet and staying calm as much as possible. I go between anxiety and calmness and am sure this is something a lot of people can relate to. When I thought about what I wanted to contribute, to be honest, so many things feel like they are just works in progress. And now I'm in no hurry to finish or complete anything. So I wanted to share a poem in progress. I wrote this poem a few months ago when I saw an aerial photo of sunrise on Mars. And it made me think of the earth and how we're dealing with it. 


Sunrise on Mars

for jido 


I spent last Sunday making this Earth out of paper and plastic. 

I set fire to the woodlands, it turned the north pole into a deep shade of red.

When I ran out of green, I stopped halfway through the amazon forest, 

and I forgot to color the sky blue. 


(This is it and nothing more) 


I spent last Sunday making my world out of tiny details. 

Like the kindness in your eyes when you wake up,

this perfect cup of coffee, and how soft,

my mother’s skin is            when she doesn’t even moisturize.


(This is it and nothing more)


I watched a little raven come to my window like an over-used metaphor

 for freedom. 


I protested the lies in the newspapers          

so they gave me a thousand paper cuts.


We took to the streets calling for bread, equality and…

I forgot.


We took to the streets calling for the end of occupation from Ferguson to Jerusalem and...

I forgot.


I wrote you a love letter, I left it on the bridge before I... 



Let’s play a game, I tell my grandfather, you’re the sun. 


He sits on a chair in the middle of the living room,

and we orbit and orbit until we get tired,

then we drop.


Jehan Bseiso is a poet and writer. She is currently executive director of MSF Lebanon. She joined Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in 2008 and has worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, Jordan and other countries.