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Poem of the Week: Djehane Hassouna’s Weight of Traditions

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Djehane Hassouna is a brilliant Egyptian poet who expresses her feelings through poetry until she becomes harmonized with it. What amazed us about this poet and made her our pick for the week was that, despite battling Parkinson’s disease at age 62, she bagged a PhD in Romance Languages and Literature, and at age 76, she published a book titled “Rainbow of Emotions.” Having lived through multiple decades, it became clearer as to why she would understand the weight of traditions better than most.

This week, we feature one of her poems titled Weight of Traditions.

Traditions are heavy. Pulling you backwards, 

They force you to live in the past, shielding 

The future from your gaze. They weigh on 

Your shoulders every minute of each day. 

They pin you to the ground, denying you 

Any progress, any prospect of a new life, 

Preventing you from flying free of any chains.

In order to be able to rise in the light, you must

Break any fetters holding you down, dragging you back.

What do traditions represent? They are sets of rules 

Established in a past era, imposed upon you,

Whether or not the current time and place calls for them; 

They may be redundant or obsolete; they may also be

Out of context. Allowing traditions to ensnare you amounts to 

Surrendering every chance to reach for the stars …

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