Djehane Hassouna is a poet and author, she speaks 5 languages and has a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from UPITT.
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
I chose my name; therefore, I like it. It’s easy, yet unusual! Once you get Used to it, you will never forget it... I have some friends who kept on Practicing until they finally Mastered its pronunciation Where does “Djehane” come from? In Persian, it means the universe; It is used in Turkey, Iran, and Egypt. In India, it is a man’s name. It was also used in France in the Middle Ages: Joan of Arc was called Sainte Jéhanne; The spelling was slightly different back then. My name has a silent D at the beginning. Why? Just to add a touch of individuality. It’s my name and it describes me. I am no saint, but I love Joan of Arc. She was so special! So am I! Aren’t we all, in some respect? Yes, indeed! It’s easier for me to remember names Than to remember faces© Djehane Hassouna, 2004Rainbow of Emotions, page 3
From my window pane, The lights of the Cathedral of Learning And those of CMU’s Hammerschlag Hall Glimmer in the darkness. Buzzing with thoughts and ideas, Minds are in a constant state of alert: Discovering the meaning of life, Linking the Past to the Future, Defeating problems, hunting for solutions, Building hope... Eight years: seeking knowledge, Establishing an emotional And intellectual territory: Making new friends, Waving and smiling, Enjoying moments of rare perfection! Eight years, gone in a wink, Holding cherished memories Interlaced with bitterness! Alas! The flight of Time...© Djehane Hassouna, 2002Private Collection
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
My Friend The Sea
On the Sea of my dreams, I endlessly float. From the abyss to the sky, there is only one path; The spirit soars, taking its flight to the stars... Golden sunshine and blue crystal in motion; The waves, carrying the imagination afloat, Inspire, amaze, mesmerize with their charm: A peaceful quiet accompanied By the whisper of white noise, A sweeping movement suggesting The permanence of a lifetime, Drowning my worries and my fears, Providing relief and conveying hope. The water, evaporating into clouds, Rise to Heaven, carrying my soul Connected to the soul of the Sea. As I capture that exceptional momentum, I radiate confidence and assurance Since the powerful Sea is my friend.© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 57
Lighting up the landscape, the sun shines In the garden, in the street; flowers and trees Are bathed in sunlight; birds and butterflies Celebrate the revival of spring; a blue sky is A peaceful background for a blooming nature; Green leaves and flowers alternate, creating A colorful minuet pleasing to the eye, Charming to the mind, and inspiring A vivid imagination. Nature is but one huge painting, Where beauty, continuously, Whispers, hums, and shivers. A cool breeze surrounds this lovely scenery. In my heart as well, a radiant sunshine sings A glorious song of hope and achievement!© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 40
Yesterday, several birds staged a delightful concert On my windowsill. I listened, charmed by the sounds That enchanted my ears: peeping, chirping, and tirelessly Twittering. The birds reported the news, And exchanged the latest gossip: How many acorns did the squirrels munch? Do they prefer crumbs? How about chipmunks? How fast can they disappear underground? How intrepid was that young squirrel as he Crossed the street to climb a secular oak tree! A peregrine falcon was flying towards His nest on top of the Cathedral of Learning; Crows do bring an irritating and earsplitting Discord to my window. I thus witness Domestic disputes as well as political Protests within an earshot... How I wish that those birds never Stop their morning and afternoon broadcast!© Djehane Hassouna, 2005Rainbow of Emotions, page 60