“Poetry is all around us. Wherever there is be beauty to be admired, joy to be felt, sorrow to be consoled, hurt to be tended, indignation to be expressed, and love to be shared…. there will be Poetry.

Poetry records our most precious moments in eloquent sentiment.”

Randa's poetry is noteworthy, not only as a chronicle of the major events that have affected the Arab/Muslim individual in the past few decades, but also as a record of the emotional response to these events.

  • The Winds of Time, 1991

    A chronological journey through life, from innocent childhood, to teenage temperament, to serene maturity, with themes related to love, anger, frustration, despair and hope, and a yearning for the ideal, for Man's ultimate goal in life.
  • Heartbeats in the Wind: Reflections of an Arab Woman, 2002

    Launched in Washington DC, this collection of poetry aims to introduce the American public, post 9/11, to Arab and Muslim perspectives. Randa believes that it is vital for us to understand each other's points of view, even more so today as people become more polarized and their responses seem increasingly dictated by narrowing vision.
  • Haiku, 2003

    Earth torn roots yearning
    Palestine landscape mourning
    Displaced Descendants

    Engraved plaque with poem unveiled at Seneca Lake, N.Y.
  • Never Again Shall We Forget, 2003

    Presented at the unveiling of the Deir Yassin Memorial in New York State, this poem communicates details of the massacre as well as the DYR mission as envisioned by its founder, Dan McGowan.
  • My Heart Beats in Deutschland, 2004

    In this collection presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Randa builds a bridge between cultures as she addresses her long-lost childhood friend Annagun, and describes the incidents and developments that helped shape her personality as an Arab Muslim woman.
  • An Expatriate Arab Heart
    From Damascus to Seville to New York, 2006

    Speaking In Arabic, this courageous journey of intellect and emotion taps the pulse of a nation which recognizes this heartbeat as its own, and appreciates the efforts of seekers of justice abroad, whether of Arab, European, American, or Jewish backgrounds.
  • The Forbidden Wall

    Standing in your ominous shadow I shudder. Your invasive presence snaking into horizon overwhelms landscape....

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  • Defining Passion Passion has A way
    Of leading
  • And Life Goes On
    Crawling multitudes
  • Death Is No More
    Remember Death,

"Heartbeats in the Wind is a cry to be heard in a world that seems deafened by the explosions of the past year and is unable to hear the voices of moderates..."

"Heartbeats in the Wind conveys the daunting effort so many Americans of different backgrounds relate to as we try to sustain identity, balance beliefs and preserve cultural integrity...."

"Randa Hamwi Duwaji has added a wonderful artistic diemension to the quest of Deir Yassin remembered to build a memorial at Deir Yassin to honor those Palestininans...."

"This is an emotionally-charged and beautiful anthology, sometimes seen through her own eyes and sometimes through the eyes of children or a loved one taken away...."

"Randa Hamwi Duwaji writes from an Arab heart that has experienced universal suffering and found sustenance in the roots of her motherland- roots that branch out in a spirit...."

"It is remarkable to tap the pulse of an expatriate Arab heart as it travels through time, composing music that overflows with notes of humble devotion and divine love...."

Defining Passion

Passion has
A way
Of leading
My mind astray
All caution at bay
Me to sway
In its persistence

Passion is
To know
That wherever
I may go
I'll be carried by its flow
For the distance

Passion is
To feel
Dreams' splendors
While all else is
Fading into
Darkened backgrounds
Of existence

Passion is
To see
In me all that I
Can be
Grasping full mastery
Over resistance

Passion is
A time
When philosophies
Of mine
Are willingly left behind

Liberated by
Of one instant

Passion is
Being blind
To certainties that bind
My body
And mind
In their restrictions

Passion denies
Passion defies
And permission

Passion even defies
And Life Goes On

Crawling multitudes
Thousands and more
Crossing parched, dry land
Creeping closer and closer towards
A dream beyond the sand

Where life goes on…

A steady stream of creatures
Flowing over hill and plain
Stumbling over dying bodies
Too weak to feel the pain

Graveless they shall lie
Where nameless they have died
As life goes

On and on they come, forever
With children starving or starved
Bellies swollen and hard
Left behind
Or dragged by their mothers
Who must go on

Babies crying without tears
Bewildered by their fears
Suffering the miseries of hunger
Crying, till they can cry no longer
And life is going on:

A few miles away
Smiling babies are growing stronger
Where people are living in splendor and squander…

What has gone wrong?

Graveless they shall lie
Where nameless they have died
As shamelessly we hide
Our indifference:

Featureless faces
In faraway faces.
They can't touch us, their plight
Is not ours, their fight
Is not ours

But were we to stop for a moment
And think
Of their torment:

Though their plight is not ours,
It could be!
Their fight is not ours
But should be!

If not for God's Grace
Mine could be those eyes...
Yours could be the face
In the paper.
Death Is No More

Remember Death,
So as to live
With every breath you take
You die a little;
Wood must be burnt with every fire you make

Remember Death, the sibling of Life
Those inseparable twins
Playing a game of hide-and-seek
Which one alone can win
Twins: Death and Life -and Death again
New Life does bring.

Remember Death,
The herald
Of unlimited pain or pleasure
Timeless as Forever
Which has no measure
Where everything you treasured
In life becomes dust,
Windblown and lost

Whatever was dearest to your heart
Evaporates as does the dew
Which comes with dawn
When the light of Truth,
The light of the sun
Shines upon... It is gone...

Truth has a brightness
So sharp and strong
All else is dimmed besides
All else is insignificant,
When shadowless it lies
Diminished to true size

So open your eyes!

Open your eyes: Death is Truth
As Life is Truth,
To every beginning there is an end
There is a night to every dawn... yet
When you hear a bird sing its song

With a leap of your heart
Your eyes become bright,
You know the sun has chased off the night
And as its last shadows disperse,
Ever so gently awakens the earth
To a new morn...

And once more
The tide rises and surges,
As your heart thrills to its core
As it fills with life and asks for more,
The waves hitting and pounding
Against the rocks by the shore

The birds are on the wing
As stronger and stronger the waves,
Higher and higher they soar
As louder your heart sings,
Then all is drowned in silence
And darkness descends once more
But not before
You realize
You shall awaken no more
To this wondrous scene by the shore!
For as your gaze was lost in pursuit
Of the birds as they stooped and rose
Upon the currents of time,
Your footsteps blindly chose
To lead you aimlessly onwards
In a twisted line
To a land of no return

Backwards they never turn,
The winds of time…

And as you crossed that land
You cried out in command: Stop!
But how could you stop by command
When drowning in quicksand?
For had you not been so entranced
By the flight of the birds through the clouds,
You would have seen with a glance
The beauty of heaven above

And as you stood to admire
That beautiful scene on the beach,
Had your soul only looked higher

Than your eyes could ever reach,
You would have seen a sky of sapphire
Above a shore of pearl,
And waves of diamond unfurl
Over rubies as bright as suns
Beckoning in meaningful silence: "Come..."

For even as was to you your breath
The companion of the heart,
To your existence such was death
Of which your life was part

Just as when winter approaches
Through the land,
Unknown to man:
The scurrying of little creatures
Under the ground
Who in seasons of plenty
Back and forth ran,
Gathering provision
For when they're earth-bound.

Little creatures
Make great teachers
For those who understand.

So come O Man, sincere and true
Come into Heaven
It was prepared for you!

Come to Eternal Life
And think of death no more,
Your soul shall rise and soar
Into never-ending Bliss

And remember this:
Death Is No More!"
Heartbeats in the Wind provides readers with the rare privilege of peering into the mind and soul of modern Arab Muslim womanhood. Comfortable in her ‘three cultures', Randa Hamwi Duwaji calls for open dialogue to heal the rift resulting from the tragedy of 9/11. She believes Truth to be the first and most difficult step, and thereupon bares her most personal emotions and thoughts in poetry and lyric. Passionate, yet balanced and analytical, Heartbeats in the Wind speaks a universal language everyone can understand.

"Heartbeats in the Wind is a cry to be heard in a world that seems deafened by the explosions of the past year and is unable to hear the voices of moderates. It showcases the lyricism and passion of Randa Hamwi Duwaji, one of the Islamic world's finest poets and writers for children in the English language. The ideas she expresses deserve consideration by anyone who professes an open mind. Heartbeats in the Wind is an antidote to everything that has been said on the subject."
Ayman Hakki, MD,
Assistant clinical Professor, Georgetown University.
"Heartbeats in the Wind conveys the daunting effort so many Americans of different backgrounds relate to as we try to sustain identity, balance beliefs and preserve cultural integrity. As a Palestinian, I was particularly moved by the ‘Arab Heart' section; my people's sufferings were so well expressed! And as a Christian, I felt that the vital question posed in ‘The Challenge of Nine Eleven', rightly puts the onus of introspection of the book's central elements -Love, Tolerance, Peace, Justice -on all of us, ‘America, are we up to it?' Indeed, Heartbeats in the Wind challenges both Arabs and Americans - Are we up to it?"

Ruba Sifri
"Randa Hamwi Duwaji has added a wonderful artistic dimension to the quest of Deir Yassin remembered to build a memorial at Deir Yassin to honor those palestinians who were massacred there in 1948. Her poetry has been used in two of our largest theatrical productions in london and her Haiku has been cast in bronze on the first Deir Yassin Memorial in the United States."

Daniel McGowan
Founder of ‘Deir Yassin Remembered,' at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
This is an emotionally-charged and beautiful anthology, sometimes seen through her own eyes and sometimes through the eyes of children or a loved one taken away, in which religion and experiences of life – and especially of life as an Arab – are recurrent themes.

Also of importance is the theme of humanity as a whole, and most of these poems, although perhaps inspired by her own experiences or by tragedies from Palestine, are ones which we can all relate to. She writes of our common existence, of our shared experience. In her Epilogue, she asks this: "Where is this unmarked grave? Does it matter? We should be able to feel the same empathy wherever this human voice comes from, for only with the strength of one united conscience that sees humanity on an unmarked human plane can we work effectively to prevent the tragedies we wreak upon ourselves."

As a former student of English Literature, Randa Hamwi uses various styles, forms and influences in her poems that are both traditional and some of the more imaginative. At once moving and refreshing, tragic but full of hope, this life-enhancing little collection is not to be missed.

Isla Rosser-Owen
"Randa Hamwi Duwaji writes from an Arab heart that has experienced universal suffering and found sustenance in the roots of her motherland- roots that branch out in a spirit of love for humankind everywhere. Upon a global canvas she depicts Man's defamation of Man and the erosion of morals as people stray from core Human values, principles advocated by Monotheistic faiths and confirmed by scholars and sages throughout time. The author delivers an engaging literary expos' as she intersperses poetry with prose in an attempt to discover the meaning of her existence and reveal the true path of Humanity. Her journey is lit with such passion that prose becomes poetry and poetry prose, the intellect whispering in an undertone, surfacing and plunging into depths of the conscious and unconscious. It is an authentic personal experience in every sense- or more precisely, the experience of an entire nation as it searches for itself within the global horizon, a horizon that consists of both good and evil."

Abdullah Abdel-Daim, Ph.D.
"It is remarkable to tap the pulse of an expatriate Arab heart as it travels through time, composing music that overflows with notes of humble devotion and divine love. Spending hours with Randa Hamwi Duwaji's words that sparkle with the spirit of her Arab and Muslim heart as they sing to its rhythm, I found her serenade to loved ones especially moving in its purity and sincerity. I pray to God that her endeavor helps shape the future to the best of aspirations for the children of tomorrow."

Zahra Abdel-Wahed
We Must Change

I see men without a cause
and a cause yearning for men
I see anticipations rise
then down they’re struck, again

I see a body that’s dismembered
Its face is all intact
Its fixed smile
does not beguile
its failure to face facts
Nor wishes it to remember
lest memories lead to anger.

The disappearance of that smile
even for a little while
could spell disaster:

“It’s not the truth I’m after.
Keep it hidden in your files.
Secure the lock, and lose the key…
I am a coward; do not harm me
lest I lose my smile!”

On file is the definition:
‘Spineless seeker of authority
with a complex of inferiority.
Holds with teeth onto positions
which give it superiority.’

I see strangers on its soil
its people in turmoil;
With glazed eyes
it feigns surprise:

Blood when frozen cannot boil!

Its resigned complacency
has robbed it of all decency
when its ideals are de-robed and raped
by its own shortcomings and failure,
then pretentiously covered and draped
by many a colorful banner
like a crafty magician
transforming these ideals,
so they emerge- applause:

They are only ‘suppositions!’
Outdated ‘superstitions’
of men without a cause.

I see a nation with no future
and a future without a nation.

I see cauterized limbs, fused
in a ghastly malformation..

I see the gigantic tongue lolling
in that featureless face,
defending itself incessantly,
fighting off disgrace..
lapping up the lies it spits
sending itself into fits
of impotent rage
like an ape-form in a cage!

I see strong arms, full of health
drugged by luxurious wealth.
Minds silenced by terror and fear.
Throats slit from ear to ear.
Legs weighted by oppression.
Bellies hungered by depression
when the wildest of their dreams
has one nagging theme:
Finding tomorrow’s bread
and keeping a roof above their heads.

But I also see, in my mind’s eye
A Nation’s refusal to die
If that is to be
Erase the definition
Let history
Be completely undone
Let despotism
Give way to self-expression

Join together! Stand as one
Or worse is yet to come!
Yes, worse is yet to come.
Motherland in Distress

I need your help. Come to my side
Leap out of your comfortable bed
My body twists in torment, and
My shoulders can't carry my head

You need me too, but, unaware
Pay tribute, as always, by talk;
Your sweet words sound so meaningful
Silken roses on a dead stalk

Soft-petaled, fit to adorn my hair
But stand by me? You do not dare…
Say, what shall I with roses do
When what I need, dear son, is you?

Why do I call upon you now
Seeking conciliation?
Wake up and listen carefully
This is our situation

I call you, not to save my skin
I fear not the torture and pain
I've seen the worst of sufferings
And I am ready to suffer again...

And I’m ready to die
Were it not for you, for
The only way you can survive
Is with my head held high!

Had my shoulders not started to give way
Had my neck not started to bend
Had my firm-standing legs not started to sway
Had I not known this was the end...

I would’ve made of your roses a garland
I would have worn them as a crown...
Decked my neck with your promises
Or wrapped them as a gown...

But it is too late, son, for now
After bearing our struggle alone
So you would have a home
I am overcome:
Even a single rose-petal, my son
Would break me, and bring me down

You see, dear son, it is too late
I cannot live much longer
As my life ebbs, your future wanes
There is no time to hesitate!

Other Motherlands are giving birth
Other lives have already begun
Replacing yours and mine
Such is the natural circle of life
Since the beginning of time

Assist me -before it’s too late,
Resist me –and they
Knock down your gate
Announcing my sad departure.

And since you are my next of kin
With no Mother to support him
They shall take you off to torture!
Death of a Heart

Oh, aching heart!
I demand you desist
I implore you, resist
The suffering

Oh, aching heart
I ask you, refrain
I beg you, restrain
Allow not this anguish
This agony
I am perishing
In this pain!

Oh, aching heart
If you should persist,
Igniting my conscience
Feeding its fire
I'll have to insist upon
A dreadful desire

It's my will or yours
It’s now or never:
I must induce you to expire!
So I could live on
When you die!

We cannot continue
As a torture team
On our journey together
You, punishing me with pain
As I torment you,
By mending torn Hope… yet again

I admit I was wrong
When on Hope I fed you
When I constantly bled you
To paint its dreams
And when Hope proved false
I couldn't tell you
I kept giving and living
A Lie

Oh, heart of mine
We have had enough
Let there be
No further duress
When you die I will abide
In Nothingness
Passive, immune
To these terrible times
No heart. No home.
My world in ruins
My land all gone
My people dead
Desecrated my culture
As circle the vultures
Patiently overhead

Yet I will keep
An ice- cold eye
Not breaking apart
For I will be living
Without a heart
And I will contemplate
Without love, without hate
The futile future go past

And you, my poor aching heart
Shall find comfort at last...
Daring To Resist

Dare I demonstrate in solidarity
with persecuted brothers of mine
who, in circumstances of singularity
are condemned, not for a crime
committed, but for suspicion thereof
convicted, by reason of:

Dare I tread towards my brothers
offering an arm and a shoulder?
Showing that I, too, do shed tears
that cause not my flames to smolder
but rather... to rise... even bolder!

For it’s the abuse of power
the justification of what is cruel
that sets our tears flowing...
Bitter, hotter, glowing...
And they are tears no longer
but multifarious droplets of fuel...
kindling the flames even brighter.

Dare I become a fighter?

Dare I declare they should be deemed
innocent until guilt is proven?
Dare I say these accusations
seem like facts, with fiction woven?
Dare I show I am a supporter?
Dare I attempt this intrusion?
Dare I jeopardize my position
and risk redirecting Hate?
Dare I fall from ‘Grace,’
Myself being the upcoming victim
of this modern-day Inquisition?
And…anyway... in reflection:
Is it not too late?

But I hear my conscience call:
No, it is not too late
For if you allow your brothers to fall
the lifeline that holds you all unwinds
and you follow the same fate!

For the question isn't
and never shall be
‘Do you dare to resist?’

But is and always has been:
“Do you intend to exist”!!
The Awakening

'I am a human-being..'
the street-vendor mumbles
to your disinterested stare..
'And I deserve better!'
he declares,
loud, to your face.
Anger and desperation
don't grab your attention
but only that he would dare.

Fist of iron rises
to strike Pride
off his brow.
His livelihood,
his dreams
to the ground
fuel to his fire.

His gaze
now ablaze
does not bow
to yours
and wills are tested.

'Ihriq, ihriq; burn, burn..
You don't
scare me
any more!'

Tyrants lose their minds
as pride and indignation pair.

Cowering in the gloom
of vengeful souls
they devise retribution.

Heedless to lessons of History
They don’t hear the people call.

'Kafaa, kafaa; enough's enough!
You shall never
humble us again!'

One humanity.
One Fate.
Single solution follows
built on the lack of you.
Testimony to
changing life,
a force you

The final hour
looms strong.
You don't heed
its closing call.

'Al Sha'b,
the people,
your true judge and jury
'yureed,' demands
'isqaatal nithaam'
your reigning rule.

What eloquence.
What fury.

Blood spills
in a war of wills
which could
have been
a peaceful revolution
with your exit.

In the pit
of vengeful souls
you expire.

Horizons glow.
Youths burn their funeral pyres.
Arrested, molested,
yet out, on every street.
Breathing the sweet air of Freedom
people do not tire.

'Irhal! Irhal!'
'Out you go!'

In the ditch
of vengeful souls
you breathe the charred remains
of your dynasty

You choke upon your name
forever odious
to posterity.

You drown in
your shameful legacy.
The pandemic of pain:
sucks you hollow.
A disgorged shell
of what once was
but never had belonged.

Spoken of,
never spoken to

As he is driven
to the ground:

'I am a human-being,'
the dictator mumbles
to the people's angry stare..
proving himself a liar.

It is his final sound.