Only When Desire Screams


The heart is the temple of love in which it crowns itself supreme. In unlike all other temples, but like all dictators, love needs no permission to enter, accepts no restrictions, conforms to no rules except its own and rejects all rivals. What it does in this temple is nothing less than one of the greatest miracles of humanity. Every dim corner of unloving hearts begins to burn with brightness, chaos is replaced by harmony, distress by relief, desperation by hope, doubt by sincerity, weakness by strength and a thousand roses suddenly bloom and fill the temple with the exotic scent of life, joy and optimism.


All the hours of all the days,

And all the minutes in between,

By all the Gods I’ll swear to you

Again and again, I’ll love you,

But tread softly,

If you please,

It is not the ground underneath,

It is my heart,

And my soul,

Is just beneath,

So, watch your steps,

The love that can cure us all,

Can also be a disease.

Trust me or fear me not,

If one day,

After a kiss,

Being warm or being hot,

In a moment primed with wonder,

You sigh deep and then you say,

Sweeter than the sweetest wine,

Your lips,

I will remind you, yet again,

Grapes milked for their wine,

Are also milked for vinegar.

Care for me and keep me sweet,

Not every minute of the day,

Not every second of the night,

Not every act; not every deed,

Not every time we will meet,
Only when desire screams,
And all hours of need.

A poem by Adel Bishtawi

About the author

Adel Bishtawi

Adel S (Said) Bishtawi was born in Nazareth, Palestine, 1945. He read English Literature at Damascus University, attended short courses of familiarisation of languages including Latin, German and Russian, and attended a course in Linguistics at the Central London Polytechnic.

Adel published more than 20 books in both English and Arabic. the last of which is Only When Desire Screams co-authored by Selvi Sado. A journalist since the late 1960s, he became Front Page Editor of Al Arab Newspaper (London), the first pan Arab Newspaper launched in Europe. In 1978, he joined Jihad Al Khazin in launching Asharq Al Awsat Newspaper (London) as Business and Supplements Editor. In 1980, he was appointed Central Managing Editor of the Emirates News Agency in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In 1988, he joined Jamil Mrowa (who later re-launched the Daily Star in Beirut in 1996) in London for the re-launch of Al Hayat Newspaper and continued under the editorship of Jihad Al Khazin until he left in April 2001 to dedicate what is left of his time to literary and historical writing. as well as investigating origins by means of historical and etymological linguistics.

Adel produced and co-produced a number of TV documentaries. He produced, directed and wrote “Muslims along the Silk Road”, a five part-60-minutes-each documentary tracing Muslim culture and heritage and the legacy of Muslim pioneers and merchants along the Silk Road starting from China.