The Fragrance of Jasmine

By Khulod Hadaq

Syrian Jasmine


It was a cloudy summer day, overshadowed by sadness,the wrenching of peoples’ hearts.Streets and halls of the city overflowed with tragedy.The tyrant had declared war against humanity. People had no choice. Either they must become slaves, or screams of death should be emitted everywhere in the land, as the price of their



How long was that night? Its moon missing, darkness prevailed. Darkness, an unjust and unfair ruler,suppressed any light.That day, sleep had not come to her at all.How could sleep visit eyelids that had been burnt by the blazing flames of tears? The tears of orphan-hood? After wiping the last drops off her dusky cheeks, she called upon God to bless this year and offer her grieving heart peace and a share of comfort.The door bell rang. Her heart was beating like the wings of a sad bird.She invoked God,whispering: “Oh God, make it good!”


He touched her shoulder, then gripped her hand in sorrow. Before he got up he looked at her eyes to say goodbye.

“Who is at the door ?”

“I am Abu-Mahmoud… your neighbor.” (With a voice quivering with fear).

“Welcome neighbour… perhaps the best..!”

“Is the doctor here?”

“Yes..what is the matter?”

“Please..would you go with me..? My son and some of the neighbours are

wounded. They are in a serious condition.”

He patted his shoulder compassionately. At once she patted Abu-Mahmoud’s shoulder reassuringly, with the pretended smile on her lips he loved. But her smile was coloured by sorrow.

He recognized that a combination of humanity, sacrifice and altruism permeated her romantic spirit, as well as the fragrance of Damascus jasmine. Is it possible for the scent of a jasmine flower to be that skimpy? For people to be overlapped with smell of death,and the folds of their thoughts coloured with dark red?

Painting by Esam Hamzeh/


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