Flowers of Flame

The Poetry of IRAQ








                      

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The Heart of a Woman


Lateef Helmet




The heart of a woman is the only country

That I can enter without a passport,

Where no policeman

Asks me for my card

Or searches my suitcase

Full of contraband joys

Forbidden poems

And delicious sorrows.

The heart of a woman is the only country

That does not heap up heavy weapons

Nor force its citizens to fight its wars.



Contraband poetry was no idle fiction in Iraq. Since many of its best poets and dissident voices were in exile, there was a huge and eager audience for smuggled poems. One way they reached the people was through “the tailor of Baghdad,” who would sew forbidden poems into the linings of
garments and send them all over the country.  --Dan



Flowers of Flame
Copyright 2008 by Michigan State University