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Arab World Books and ACT Writers' Poetry Evening in Australia

hal judge
Hal Judge

Hal Judge is a versatile creative writer of plays and screenplays and award-winning poet. Over the last decade he has produced many cabaret and poetry slams at top live entertainment venues and has featured at the Tasmanian, ACT, Northern Territory and Ubud writers' festivals. His poems have been published in over 20 literary publications in Australia and overseas.

Hal gave voice to several of our Arab poets during the evening. He read for Salah Jahin, Maher Kheir and Adeeb Kamaledeen.

His Poem "Where is Arabia?"  was short-listed for the ACT Poetry Award and published in "Muse" magazine in Canberra in Dec/Jan 2003/04 and was published in the national Bahasa Indonesian magazine in "Azzikra", September 2006.


Hal Judge and Maher Kheir

Where is Arabia?

by Hal Judge

Where is Arabia when language

is the grumble and clatter of tanks

in the mother of armies

borderlines cut in sky and sand

swept by spangled desert storms?

Where are the deep brown eyes squinting

at the claw trail of high altitude bombers

below the quick camera pan

of leaping AKs, chequered cloth

and the flash of black moustaches?

Where is the second and ninth brigade,

the entire third division

the young conscripts teeth in the homeland dirt

uniforms shed, trucks smoldering

beside the Baghdad highway of bones?

Where are the gods and devotees

when holy men are stabbed in mosques

caliphs installed by the edge of a scimitar

and presidents grow stronger with crafted gesture

pause … and market-tested phrase?

Where is a tin of clean water

on the mined path and shrapnel alley

when blood dries quickly

and oil is impossible to rinse

from the crease of our hand?

Where is Arabia when every barefoot boy

named Mohammed holds a stone

for each member of his family

the precision missile turned to pink mist?

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