115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Scheherazade Untold Tale

Dhiffaf Al-Shwillay, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Dhiffaf is a graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. She has her M.A. in English literature from the College of Education, University of Baghdad 2006. In 2007, Dhiffaf was hired to teach English poetry, human rights, and introduction to religion in the Department of English/College of Education. Dhiffaf is interested in the social and cultural issues and challenges facing Middle Eastern Muslim women. The poem she will read is about a Muslim woman looking retrospectively to her early twenties in Iraq during the 1990s.


(Not the full poem--please see the email)

She was
A leaf, 

Fell in the river of life moving upwards, downwards 

Into the sea of troubles. 

She breasted The Old Man and the Sea’s waves. 


Covered her like a tent,  

Top of the waves were as white as the sun’s light. 

She was searching 

Struggling, grappling with them 

Almost ascending the waves 

Not knowing how to swim but 

Something whispered into her ears  

“Find your borders first.” 

Sometimes we should pay the ticket  

To merely know the borders. 

The ax’s satisfaction for cutting a tree’s branch 

Parallels the tree’s agony for losing the branch. 

The tree sighing for losing the  bird’s dock. 

She sometimes forgets about the borders 

Her soul flight with the wind that 

Gently blows away the waves surrounding her 

Playing the sweetest tunes, you may ever imagine. 

I was with her, 

Watching from outside. 

I don’t know she was the  ‘I.' 


Unrhymed poem I am. 

My existence  

A dream 

I can feel my birth’s hour 

Accompanies me everywhere I go.  ...