I found this on The Baffler, in a 2022 feature Poems From Palestine. It’s worth a click to see the art that accompanies the poems and to read them all. This one, though–by Zakaria Mohammed, translated by Lena Tuffaha–stood out. Again, this wasn’t written recently, but “the lying ceremony of peace” sure seems current.

PS, you can use the 5 Calls app/site to call your representatives to ask for a permanent cease fire in Gaza.


He was crying, so I took his hand to steady him and to wipe away his tears.

I told him as sorrow choked me: I promise you that justice

will prevail in the end, and that peace will come soon.

I was lying to him, of course. I know that justice won’t prevail

and peace won’t come soon, but I had to stop his tears.

I had this false notion that says, if we can, by some sleight of hand, stop

the river of tears, everything would proceed in a reasonable manner.

Then, things would be accepted as they are. Cruelty and justice would graze

together in the field, god would be satan’s brother, and the victim would be

his killer’s beloved.

But there is no way to stop the tears. They constantly pour out like a flood

and ruin the lying ceremony of peace.

And for this, for tears’ bitter obstinance, let the eye be consecrated as the truest saint

on the face of the earth.

It is not poetry’s job to wipe away tears.

Poetry should dig a trench where they can overflow and drown the universe.

                                     —from A Date for the Crow