Dedicated to Colorado State University, for the teachers who helped me in revising this poem, my country where my inspiration springs from, the Muslim Student Association, my second family who first revealed my poems and my father who has always abandoned his own happiness for children and always been in my heart encourage me in life.
You are like whispers in my ear,
A faint Arabian lute strumming in the night,
Playing softly to the forlorn stars and my heart
Under our camel hair weaved tent.
Every word that you have uttered
Hand in the abyss of my soul,
Like the seven Hanged Poems suspended on the ka'bah's ancient walls;
A dedication of infatuated lovers' agonies to their beloveds.
Your voice, one that I impatiently wait to hear,
Like the Arabian horses' hoofs bringing our warriors home,
Makes me delusional in the suffocating desert heat,
Wounding me with memories of days richly seasoned with contentment.
I pray to Allah that I see you,
I hide behind my obsidian silk veil,
So that you may not see my cheeks dye themselves in blood.
Yet my kohl tainted eyes gland at you pouting, my lashes longing,
Waiting for you to come my way.
So mesmerized, my soul has ignited itself on fire.
Bringing me vigorously to life.
My eyes, overtaken by drought, have no more tears to shed.
I am parched with happiness in this desert land.
The only drink I wish to pour is the Arabic coffee that waits you when you wake.
I have suffocated in the desert storms of your enrapturing soul,
And soared off the cliffs of your dignified heart like a saker falcon.
My scarlet henna stained hands have held a scimitar sword,
Challenging you in countless battles of intellect.
My body bruised, my feet prickled with thorns, I am exhausted.
You are my exhaustion,
An exhaustion that keeps me truly alive.
The timeless art of poetry is alive and well at CSU, and it has brought national recognition to a freshman.
Kholood Habiballa, an open-option student, recently won the Young Poets Scholarship Award, for students younger than 18, at the International Society of Poets 2005 Spring Convention and Symposium in February, hosted in Orlando, Fla.
"They picked about six poets for the award, and each got $1,000. We had to read our poems in front of 2,000 people, and after people stood up," said Habiballa. "I was humbled."
Originally from Saudi Arabia, Habiballa has been in the U.S. for 12 years and poetry has been one of her passions, along with her culture. She is a member of the Muslim Student Association on campus.
"A lot of poems I write are more cultural," Habiballa said. "I try to make them unique."
Usually pretty shy about her poetry, Habiballa was encouraged to keep writing by Lesa Hastings, her composition teacher.
"She immediately stood out as an articulate and well-thought-out student," Hastings said. "She mentioned she was a poet, and I encouraged her to keep at it."
The conception of the idea for the award-winning poem, entitled "My Exhaustion," took place in the Morgan Library.
"I wrote it in the library. The teacher was talking and I had an inspiration," Habiballa said. "I let some English and poetry teachers look at it and revise it."
The experience of attending the symposium and the people she met is one that she will never forget.
"First, I was grateful to go. It was amazing; I met people from South Africa, Ireland and countries from all over the world, some I hadn't even heard of. There were only two people from Colorado," Habiballa said. "I made a lot of connections."
The award is just a start of Habiballa's poetry career. Her winning poem is going to be published in two different poetry magazines.
Aside from the awards and publication, however, Habiballa's poetry has also affected the lives of those around her.
"At first, I used to think that poems were so corny, but she sent me one of her poems and it made me cry," said Isra'a Belgasem, a junior psychology major. "I learned the power of poetry."