4 out of 4 stars
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Ranar Bitar has published ten poems in a book called A Loaf of Bread. You can read through them in less than an hour, and empathize with emotions so deep; you wonder that they are coming from you. Bitar’s skill is to touch on commonly held feelings that bring us together to a place of understanding.
In a poem called "A Piece of Land", a son needs a burial place for his father, but they live in a land that denies them this dignity. This event is the ultimate sadness atop all the others. He cannot get medicine for his father because the shrapnel is flying outside. His father doesn’t want him to go out for medicine, only for food for the children. Too late, his father dies, he mourns him alone and apologizes for no burial plot. There is so much frustration in this poem. It has a bleak outlook. There is no future. All that’s left is a futile apology.
Bitar’s poetry is a litany of frustration beyond all, sadness beyond all, and bleakness beyond all. As a citizen of Syria, civil war is being raged overhead. Despair comes from knowing that ordinary life is not for you, you are not to walk the cobbled streets again, you are not to see the seven gates, and even if you become a refugee in another country – where is the comfort in that. Your memories are so traumatic that only a mother’s arms can protect you from the pit.
Bitar writes authentically about feelings so despairing about the impact of war on humanity, the killing and wounding, and the driving of people from their land. The writing is not revengeful or angry, merely worn-down with sadness and longing for the comforts of home - never to be felt again. The writing is accessible and maintains a distinct rhythm, but there is no let up from sadness.
I sense an echo of some WWI poetry, the poignancy, the pity of war, and the utter waste of war. It puts a hold on life. It takes away comfort. It wrecks the happiness of children. It cries out for there to be no more war. People do not want war. So, who desires the conflict and makes it happen? Despotic leaders? Then, they need their comeuppance. We need to turn on them, not each other.
I am in awe of how Bitar can, in so few words, move the reader significantly. Her poetic skills are masterly, and I thank her for A Loaf of Bread. May it cure all the hunger worldwide. I rate A Loaf of Broad 4 out of 4 stars for its sad but powerful ability to move one’s soul. I do not rate it 3 out of 4 stars because it is professionally edited and has no errors. I would recommend it to a broad readership. If you want to know that you are alive, read this book, and join the army of people who refute war.
A Loaf Of Bread
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