Project Description

Alia’ Afif Sifri Kawalit


Alia’ Afif Sifri Kawalit was born in Jordan. She is currently a research postgraduate student under the supervision of Prof Janet Montefiore and Prof David Herd. Ms Kawalit is an associate lecturer at the Center of English and World Languages/ University of Kent. Previously, she worked as a lecturer at Petra University in Jordan. She has her work published in Best of Manchester Poets, Route 57 and Petra Voices and was featured in Manchester’s Not Part of Festival. In addition, she participates in various open mics around the UK.

Sample of her literary work:

The Crossed Man’s Burden
“I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people.”
-St Matthew 7:23

These are the fatal weights, as dense as the dryness of the desert:
the age of forty and everlasting insiders I have to take in.

This is my journey back to Hades, another one to set broken bones
with re-umbilical cords and bring melancholic souls to deliverance.

Yet, I see myself groan as I grow into an old olive trunk
with spikes extending like arms to embrace the macabre dance.
Call it mercy. Call it patience.
Yet they trade with the sacred in the name of peace
and use their stony scabs as holy abundant seeds,
to be showered and give birth to orphans and outcasts,
on the shattered pieces of my cross.
They teach them, this is the loving sacrifice,

that I know, I am no more what I am
for them. For them I Am What I Am Not.

Two Rings
Who dwells upon beauty will retain it.
This is what I told you when you said,
The train is about to leave, Eve
The train is about to leave.
Let the wheels roll when they wish.
I said.
With age, I’ll learn how to sip from
the morning dew without waking up the night.
With age, I’ll have more sun – texture on my skin
and my body will be filled with more light.
With age, I’ll resemble the ancient celestial flute
too tempting to be left without giving birth to a tune.

With age, the train, as well, will break down and burden the rail.

(Please, don’t hinder the train today.
Nor force the year to stay!)

As Usual
As usual,
you wait for me,
leaning on my door
as though someone forgot you there.

As usual,
You can tell by my footsteps,
the pinpointed heels ‘here
she comes , and will soon say,
hello instead of marhaba’

As usual,
I speak aloud, I repeat
while you have the recorder on
to hear yourself repeat
when you go home.

When you go home
you learn how to recognize
the present tense
through the sounds
of the hissing ‘s’
and the buzzing ‘z’.
And for the sake of retention,
You remind yourself that ‘is
sounds like miz,’
a word for the bitter taste of Eastern olives.
As always you impress me with these mnemonics.

But today, the last day
You manage to ask me
what I look like.
I think of colours.
You say you can feel them.
‘Red is warm, blue is cold’
But how will you know what white is.
With a smile you say,
‘If you can tell me what the smell of snow is.’

As usual, you place the recorder in the handbag,
but this time, none of the buttons are pressed.