Qasida | Tala Shawqi – طال شوقي إلى الحبيب | Sh. Muhammad al-Yaqoubi
"In the Shade of the Levant” is a collection of thirty-one poems on Syria and the Syrian people; they were written over the span of thirty-five years between 1980-2015. As a Syrian living in Syria and then having to leave Syria, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi describes his country, how it was and how it is, making his words a vessel not only to his own feelings, but to the feelings of the Syrian people and their on-going suffering under the Assad regime for forty years. The poems of “In the Shade of the Levant” present a series of unique and original sketches that trace the illuminated and radiant past of Syria and its capital Damascus through to the present state of discord in sharp contrast as witnessed and experienced in the author’s own lifetime.
In each of the twenty-eight poems dedicated to Syria, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, a Syrian scholar raised in one of the foremost households of knowledge, piety, and poetic brilliance in the historic city of Damascus, transports the reader through the passage of time in words, describing, praising and eulogizing the virtues and glories of the Syrian people to the level that stirs yearning for it in its most critical period. "In the Shade of the Levant" is guaranteed to enchant the reader and mesmerize his or her mind. It will bring Syria to you, making you feel its cool breeze from the old spring days and the pain its people endure today.