Djehane Hassouna is a poet and author, she speaks 5 languages and has a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from UPITT.
Philosophy of a Big Bird
A magnificent turkey crossing the lawn, observing squirrels Dance and listening to birds sing, Wonders about his ominous future. Envying the carefree birds flying around him, contemplating The alarming and scary destiny awaiting him and his kin, He allows his deepest fears to take over: Why should I be stuffed then roasted and eaten up Until nothing is left of me but my carcass? Why should Thanksgiving celebrate my death? Why wouldn’t I be allowed to live so that I may enjoy The beauty of nature and the sun shining bright While watching my children and grandchildren grow And develop into adult turkeys, adding to the number Of a proud family! Why wouldn’t I, like a few lucky birds, Be granted pardon, so I could stop fearing an impending Death? Only vegetarians are not after my skin. In this Carnivorous world, it’s comforting to know that some Compassionate souls care for my safety and well-being! © Djehane Hassouna, 2006Rainbow of Emotions, page 65
Guns, Guns, Everywhere...
What does a gun represent ? Simply death, at the end of its barrel... Why take such a responsibility into your hands? Who would wish to be held accountable For killing someone, interrupting his laughter, Putting an end to his joys, making orphans Out of his children, depriving parents of their little ones? If the victims survive, they might be disabled for life! How could anyone live with such a guilty conscience? Is hatred sufficient to trigger a gunshot? Does a difference in opinion justify a shooting spree, Ending someone's hopes and wishes? Whether the victim is young or old, Interfering with his destiny is a sinful crime... Pulling the trigger could prove easier than Stabbing someone to death... It is more effective to unleash a spray of bullets On a crowd, letting them fly at random... After all, if you own a gun, you may want to use it, So, why be tempted to end a life created by God?© Djehane Hassouna, 2013Private Collection
Umbrellas in the Rain
Umbrellas are mushrooming everywhere, Huge silhouettes clutching small umbrellas, And tiny people hiding beneath large ones. As a disguise imposed by the rain, Umbrellas hide their owner’s identity. Dark tones and vivid colors, solids, prints, Featuring artistic scenery or festooned edges, Umbrellas do look like flowers in motion, Adding a cheerful note to a gloomy landscape Where sunshine is nowhere to be seen. They decorate the campus like nothing else could. As people hurriedly proceed to their daily tasks, Waves of umbrellas flood the campus, Protecting books, papers, and clothes. Grasping their umbrellas as if their lives Depended on it, people, young and old, Try to avoid drenching their possessions. Sometimes, despite the sheltering umbrellas, They get soaked to the bone; they rush and hurry, Dripping wet like a fish that jumped out of the sea…© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 51
Waltz of the Squirrels
They run back and forth, climbing up and down The secular oaks, chasing each other, munching Acorns, and watching passersby; their graceful Movements are enchanting as they enjoy the crisp And cool weather. You can guess their presence from Their swiftness; otherwise, they share the same color As the trees: a grayish brown! They are so numerous, So nimble, that one imagines that they are flying from Branch to branch, their tails helping them to jump faster; They are waltzing while birds carry on their concerts among The leaves. Joining the spectators, an unexpected visitor Saunters by: a large turkey, gloomy, sad, deeply lost in His thoughts; he probably senses Thanksgiving approaching! He stands there, observing, admiring the lively little creatures Performing dexterously the waltz of the squirrels!© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 67
Snowflakes are waltzing in the sky like beads from Heaven! We stood there, my daughter and I, marveling at these tiny, Transparent carved jewels! Yes, for the first time we were Able to closely observe their forms, which elicited cries Of joy and wonder from us. We always thought that flurries Were just shapeless, white, powdery substances swirling In the air that settled on houses, trees, shrubs, cars, Pedestrians’ clothes, then, finally, on the ground; their Structure is truly amazing and so diverse: They look like crystal flowers standing out on the dark Velvet background of our coats! Do we dare to hold them in Our hands? As we attempt to follow their lacy contours with An inquisitive finger, immediately melting, they disappear! As if we were witnessing a scientific discovery, We experienced a great enthusiasm… The unique Production of the Divine Artisan is truly incomparable!© Djehane Hassouna, 2007Rainbow of Emotions, page 54
If you ever meet two snow-ladies laughing And shivering, it’s us, my daughter and me: With our noses assuming the appearance of red carrots, Our hats are sitting atop frosty heads, and Our scarves are surrounding chilly faces… Our gloves are covering frigid hands, Unable to carry our heavy bags or to get Our ID cards out for the bus! Yes, it’s us! Despite the endless layers of clothing, we are Still frozen to the core: we tremble as we walk Or while waiting at the bus stop! We are so bundled up that people Cannot help noticing. Cold is a mild word; Freezing is more like it! We only start melting Once we step into our home and steep in The comforting warmth we need so much…© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 53
A Witness to Eternity
The Great Sphinx crouches on the desert sand, Fastening his gaze on a mysterious hereafter. A witness to Eternity, he appears to be Indifferent to the Present, like Napoleon, Obsessed with the past glory of his era; His sole vision is a Future he is able to predict. Walled in an immutable silence, keeping the secrets Of Time and Space as well as Eternal Memory, His granite eyes can pierce the walls of the Unknown. Exposed to the elements for four thousand years, Oblivious to the devastating effect of aging, and The constant erosion of Time gnawing at his features, He patiently bears his Fate. Mute, magnanimous, Insightful, and apathetic, he watches the human circus Proceed and unfold in a ludicrous minuet, As people make fools of themselves...© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 107
As a child, my next-door neighbors were the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt who left their mark on The whole Egyptian landscape! On this spot, the monuments built by the three Kings: Cheops, Kefren, and Mykerinos stood tall, magnificent, and Indestructible. Built of huge blocks of stone, The apex topped with granite, The pyramids fascinated tourists and were The ideal destination for camel drivers and horsemen to take Their riders! When people reached the plateau Of Giza overlooking the city of Cairo, They were not only spectators, but also Witnesses to the legacy of past centuries. Although modern bystanders, they, somehow, participated In the exceptional life of the ancient Egyptians. They glimpsed at their glory, at such a mysterious way of life, At their extraordinary mausoleums reaching the sunny sky Of the Egyptian desert... How fortunate was I to have such Glorious neighbors, whose distinguished civilization Kept my young imagination relentlessly engaged! Who knows? King Tut, the boy King, could possibly Have been a distant relative of mine!
From the twelfth floor of the Kaufmann's Building, A bright horizon joins land and sky. The green hills of Pennsylvania are covered With clouds filled with the liquid gold of sunlight. Among the trees, tiny houses and huge buildings Shelter smiles and tears, hope and dismay; Nearby, the river glides, reflecting Either a bright sunshine or a dark sky, Symbolizing the flow of life where the sequence Of days is never the same: C'est la vie! Disruption of a circle of friends, a pattern of events, An enjoyable activity: Bye Bye Rehab! Sadness like a dark cloud invades our soul. Gone will soon be the happy days of reunion, The tightly woven community of friends, So diverse, and yet so similar; the kind staff Who oversaw, supervised, helped and assisted us. We counted on them, and they delivered: Competent and kind advice leading us to Recovery, Fitness and Health! Bye Bye Rehab!© Djehane Hassouna, 2003
Twice, she stretched out her arms to me, Twice, she gave me a push forward, And helped me find my goal. While I was a young girl graduating from high school, She handed me her torch to illuminate my path, And guided my first steps in life: I learned to walk alone, to study, to work. I learned to cook and to sew, to buy and to sell. I learned the universal language of Freedom. She taught me things I already knew: To laugh and to cry, to accept and to refuse, Taking into account my options in life. Then I left... For thirty long years, I longed for Her face and her name! And I cried while laughing, And I laughed while crying, Holding my child in my arms, Teaching her what I was taught, Promising her the same experience as mine Someday... I am back once more, Older, yet not necessarily wiser, Carrying the sweetest load of all, Guiding my daughter on the path of Liberty. The both of us now on her territory, Studying, working, making choices, Enjoying even the hardships of freedom. Thankful and Grateful for a dream come true. A different but happy life: Studying and smiling, Working and smiling, Driving and also smiling, Lit by the inner glow of self-reliance, Confidence, and determination, Feeling the thrill of responsibility. Yes! Grateful and Free, But for how long? How long will Lady Liberty continue Stretching out her arms to us?© Djehane Hassouna, 2002Rainbow of Emotions, page 147
Spring is back! Summer will soon be following! April showers and spring flowers go hand in hand. Trees are blooming and turning green. Branches, no longer bare, wear their verdant Attire: foliage and berries abound. Tweeting continually, birds come back To inhabit the trees, stepping out of the warmth And softness of their well-hidden nest. They charm the ear with their songs. People’s moods reflect the seasons. In winter, they frown in their heavy coats. In summer, they wear sunshine on their face. They smile at one another in the spring. They are also enthralled by the golden Magic of the trees in autumn. Each season determines people’s behavior!© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 36