Hedy Habra – Four Poems


Or Do Memories Go Through Our Children Like Thread Through A Needle?

There is a gap we do not see, that slips through
             the folds of time, a tear in the fabric of passing on
                        memories. Fallen leaves hide furrows carved by  
raindrops. Could such tears be mended, embroidered 
            with colored threads to hide its seams?

Should we teach our children the art of passing a thread through a needle?

My mother used to draw patterns on linen tablecloths.
            She planned one for each of her daughters’ future home,  
                        seating up to twenty-four guests. They’d marvel
at the purple wisteria falling in clusters, wild vines circling
            each plate, petals glistening with gilded thread.

Don’t the Chinese say we eat first with our eyes?

Was there ever any doubt that we would get married?
            When I turned fifteen, dreaming of travels and studies,
                        she started her petit point tapestry as part of my
trousseau. I tried to dissuade her: what if I wouldn’t care for
            two Louis XIV chairs in the corner of my living room?

You will appreciate it all when you’re older, you’ll see!

She kept alive the movement of the needle, threading moth-resistant
            wool that blossomed in magenta and fuchsia bouquets.
                        Decades later, I can still see her eagerness in getting
 them ready. They are now wrapped in silk paper in my cedar closet,
            the leftover  yarn rests in a box in the basement.

Will parents ever understand that life isn’t an infinite replay?

I never found time to explain to my grown-up children why I mend the
            tears of things. They come to visit, eyes filled with dreams,
                        their lifestyle evolving as their needs. No time for storytelling.
Yet, I will never part with my relics. When I’m gone, my children will
            take care of cleaning up. They won’t bear that original sin.


Within Passing Clouds

Let’s try to find little bits of happiness
            from wherever we can, make a collage
                        out of life, change perspectives at will,
            build a cubist composition, highlight areas,
blur others, live in alternate aesthetic worlds!

                        Let’s make every moment last, no matter
            if we’re at the threshold of the last quarter,
so close to the final stop! The more urgency
            lies into the hard work: there is no time to
was my mother’s motto

and we still have so much to do and learn!
            What has been said, thought or written is
                        reinvested with new meanings, risen to heights
            or demolished. Crowns fall from one day to
the next, new rulers stand tall behind loudspeakers,

                        words reach multitudes on virtual scenes,
            promises flow within passing clouds!
Not only is a poet’s work never finished
            but it isn’t inscribed in stone: in perpetual
                        gestation, it opens unlimited doors,
                                    its core hidden in Chinese boxes.

Let’s transform a poem into a perpetual present
            by the act of reading, dissolve past or future,
                        let them fall from the sky like Eluard’s “Liberté,”
            an unwavering promise, oscillating in its appearance
and disappearance! Each poem, a step towards death,

                        a slow drowning in the shipwreck of desire, words
            refusing to cling onto the bitter web of boredom.


When it Hurts it Hurts Dry

            I’ve learned to swallow my tears,
keep them hidden in an inside well.
                        I fear there is a leak somewhere,
            an unseen drip, for how else could a body
                        hold that inverted flow,
year after year?

            Wouldn’t the pressure make the well
swell, burst like distended goatskin?
                        Now when it hurts, it hurts dry.
Yet, some nights, I feel swept by the tide, 
            I drown in my own.



            Green slopes
                        scatter scarlet
                                    poppies trying
            to reach crisp

cerulean slices
                        crested cotton
clouds caress
                        snowy peaks

each blade
            of grass leaf
                        or petal
            on my way up
looks back at me

looks back at me
            on my way down
petal or leaf
            each blade
                        of grass
            reaches crisp
                        snowy peaks
clouds caress
                        crested cotton
cerulean slices

                                    poppies scatter
                        scarlet petals
            over green slopes


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Whether in nature or a painting, a poem, a guipure lace or an aria, a bird’s song and its flight, beauty surrounds us, challenging our perceptions. I could sense it as my mother scattered rosebuds on my smocks, guided my colored pencils on the page, or arranged a palette of petits fours. Beauty resides in memories that impacted us as epiphanies and will be in turn transformed into art whether with words or pigments, conveying our passion for life and the healing power of art. Beauty is found in synchronicity, in meaningful coincidences, in the similarity of patterns in feathers, snow flakes, ice crystals, whenever veined leaves and butterflies’ wings echo the lines inside our palm. Beauty comes from a feeling of unity and the pull of life that invades us after having feared the worst for a loved one. We need to erect sand castles and houses of cards to idealize our dreams: beauty created is the only one we can control in order to renew ourselves and set forth new beginnings.


Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Poetry Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Poetry Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com