Flowers of Flame

The Poetry of IRAQ



Tomorrow the War Will Have a Picnic

Abdul Razaq Al-Rubaiee

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:

Store water, bread, and air.

Because the war gets hungry now and then,

And if our tender bodies aren’t enough to satisfy it—

Our childish pranks, our innocence, our dreams—

It will be compelled to eat the buildings,

Bodies sleeping in graves,

Books, streets and biscuits.

It will be forced to eat unshakable mountains,

Statues and stones—

Anything to feed its body of smoke,

Bullets and shrapnel.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:

We must go out to meet it—

Out of our bedrooms, our

Schools, barbershops, public libraries,

Mosques, shelters, One Thousand Nights and a Night

We have to come out from our

Skins and our milk names to meet it,

And join its parade

To the Al-Sallam graveyard.

Tomorrow the war will have a picnic:

Abandon delicacy,






Cups of tea and milk,

Classroom desks,

And what’s left of dreams

Splintered in corners.

No more chocolate,

No more kissing in public—

Things like these

Are not good for the health of the war,

Which is having a picnic tomorrow.

This poem was written on the eve of the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign against Baghdad.

Flowers of Flame
Copyright 2008 by Michigan State University