From a Syrian Prison

By Susan Harris

Although our new anthology, Tablet and Pen,  is predicated on the common experience of colonialization, many of the contributors have also fought repression by their own governments. Syrian writer Faraj Bayraqdar was arrested in 1987 on suspicion of having been active in that country's Party for Communist Action; imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced in 1993 to fifteen years hard labor, he was released in 2000 and granted amnesty by the president.  We published two of his poems written from prison,  "An Alphabetical Formation"  and  "Groans," in the magazine; they appear in the anthology as well. From "Groans":

With thorns the guard caresses
Your sparrows
And the state bestows upon you
A precautionary death,
And enough of the darkness
For you to go--so go

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