Abu Dhabi poetry

16 poems about life in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi poetry
Abu Dhabi poetry Image #2
Abu Dhabi poetry Image #3
Abu Dhabi poetry Image #4
1/4

Although unknown to many, Abu Dhabi has a burgeoning poetry scene. Over the past three years, an increasingly popular open-mic poetry night, Rooftop Rhythms, has been peaking the interests of local poets.

TOAD has opened its pages up to our talented readers. We have selected the winners from our online #PoetryTimeOut competition run in conjunction with Rooftop Rhythms and Abu Dhabi International Poetry Festival. One thing is abundantly clear; our readers love Abu Dhabi.

The poetry submissions received varied in scope, style and content. They ran the gamut from high-energy poems to others full of pathos and heartfelt sentiment. It was hard to select winners from all of the creative entries received, so all winners are categorized by age.
One lucky winner from these finalists will be selected to recite their poem before an audience of poetry lovers from near and far for the Abu Dhabi International Poetry Festival on March 19, held at Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi.

Adults

Learning Tagalog in Arabia
The language of your revolution?
Colonial and like all tongues
And all revolutions
Drawled in fictions and truths
Ordinary seafarers
Fish, Bislish
Within and from Manila Bay.

Spinning on a ship’s wheel
Into the port of Abu Dhabi
Kahâ kahâ kahâ*
We are in Cebu without our
Husbands and daughters
And sons,
There is a karaoke bar,
You wanna go?

Filipina eye-lasher,
Waxer, chef, waitress—
Your dream of Moalboal,
There your mother-in-law
Dances on a different palmed shore
Holding hands with your babies,
Feeding your husband bread
He awaits your Junes, Mays, Marches
You home with him, your home.

And my eye-lasher—
I’ve become a woman with an
Eye-lasher—
My eyes taped shut
She applies hot glue
Thin, long black hairs
Arab girl lashes—says:
The Filipina girls don’t do the stuff
The Ghanaian girls do.

What’s that? I ask.
I don’t know, ma’ma, she tells me,
Tawa ta wa wa wa.

Why are you here? I ask.
Gooooood salary, ma’ma.

Why are you here? She asks.
I don’t know, I tell her.

Excitement, she says
All the white people look
For excitement.

Kahâ kahâ kahâ.
*Kahâ is a Bislish word for expressing wonder or awe at beauty.
Tawa-is a tagalog word for ‘to laugh’.
Samantha Neugebauer, 26

Abu Dhabi
Golden stretch of sand, warm between toes,
It had been so long since I’d looked at those.
Vast cityscape swept fast behind,
In front, waves tickled toes in kind.

In October we were strangers,
Abu Dhabi and I,
Connected only by a bright blue sky,
Pink toes sink deeper and so do I–
Pulled into this world I start climbing high.

The peak of towers with bird’s-eye view,
A palace filled with gold, the coffee too!
A buzzing port with fresh fruit,
fish and fauna.

A hundred spas with their own sauna,
Vast desert, stunning, beauty defined.
The Grand Mosque, statuesque
a wonderful find.

Decadent art shared with all,
No winter to speak of, not even fall.
Music that lights the darkest of nights,
The scent of fresh food that stuns
and delights.

The kindness of people from
all the world over.
Streets safe and bright for the,
young and the older.

Golden stretch of sand between my toes,
A wealth of possibilities under my nose.

Once we were strangers, now we are friends.
Abu Dhabi, my love, may it never end.
Samantha Wood, 29

Abu Dhabi
It is said to be a desert
Yet carpets of green,
With a few super hot months
The rest is cold and pristine.

High-rises and green parks
Balanced so well,
With both luxury and nature
Our lives here dwell.

Sports or driving
Music or craft,
You name it, we have it
In Abu Dhabi’s heart
One comes over to Abu Dhabi
In loneliness and fear,
To only find strangers
Are second family that’s so dear.

Offers freedom with preserved values
Dynamic yet calm,
Friendly and tolerant
Welcoming with open arms.

Abu Dhabi the one land
Most diverse of all,
Peacefully spreading love around
A happy place for one and all.
Niloufer Perera, 39

Emirates, Land of Wonders
Arriving in Abu Dhabi the capital
It felt like New York,
Except I was going to live there not just tour
It had tall buildings but yet I saw glimpses of palm trees.

It was as if the concrete jungle married
the beach.
I loved the closeness to the water
And the feel of the slight breeze.
I couldn’t stop but feel awe and wonder at the sight of the Corniche.
I saw businessmen making new opportunities
It was hard to believe I was in the Middle East,
People of different cultures and the locals
all coexist.

It was as if I stepped into the museum: the world’s greatest exhibit
But this wasn’t extinct but indeed alive
I was amazed I couldn’t help but rub my eyes
Such a small country but so much power, pride, wealth.

If it were a trophy it would be on the top shelf
Each day got better in this magical place
I saw the Middle East’s greatest mosque
face to face.
It began as a cocoon placed in sand.
As it blossomed it became a butterfly with a nine foot wingspan
I visited Al Ain: the land of the springs
Opening my eyes I couldn’t believe
what I had seen
Like a magical garden once seen days of old
It was truly gold.

I looked ahead and saw a mountain Jabal Hafeet
Once there, its beauty brought me to my knees
The zoo had animals so rare
Standing at the glass for hours all I could
do was stare.
As time went by I journeyed to Dubai,
It was something unreal one could say sci-fi.

It felt like I was in another world
All I saw were diamonds and pearls
A palm tree made of sand floating in the ocean
Gazing at the tallest building in the world gave me so much emotion.

A mall with the worlds’ largest aquarium
placed inside
Nothing compares even if it tried
Living in the emirates to foreigners might
seem insane
But this country is amazing from culture
to terrain
Its culture never changes
Even with foreigners like me speaking
different languages.

This country was built on dreams and ideas of great leaders like Zayed.
So much done in so little time leaves one inspired
This country continues to shine like a flame that has just been lit.
I am just blessed and happy to be here witnessing it.
Twfik Abumishal, 56


Kids, Middle School

Abu Dhabi
The sun started to sink
Past those rolling dunes
And the sky turned pink
On that warm afternoon
I breathe in through my nose
And out through my mouth
I stand up on my toes
And I start to move out
I'll keep on running
Because I know I can’t stay
For I have to find the sunrise
Of the next bright day.
Ida Christensen, 14

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi’s future is a high.
As high as the buildings that make it.
They build their buildings higher
Bringing their futures above the granite.

Not only bringing the future with them,
But also their past that makes Abu Dhabi.
Their past is what is holding them up
from falling
Because they know from what they learned
from the past.

But the present is still at work,
Creating our own path
And building what holds us up.
The present will never end,
Because there is always a future.

The past was the beginning,
The present is the middle,
But in this story,
Abu Dhabi’s story is still rising.
Karlo Tuazon, 14

The Cultural Fame of Abu Dhabi
Red, black, green, white,
Colors waving in the sky,
Bright days, beautiful nights,
Shining stars and glistening lights.

New, old, young, bold,
Historic stories being told,
With their wisdom comes their age,
Tradition and customs to be engaged.

Different cultures everywhere,
Diversity is circulating through the air,
We are different yet the same,
We are Abu Dhabi’s name.

Abu Dhabi is rich in hospitality, loyalty,
and kindness,
Their values are of the utmost finest,
The internal features are beyond compare,
With history that cannot be impaired.

This is what I love to do,
To learn the history, in person too,
To walk along the golden sands,
With treasured memories in my hand.

To me, Abu Dhabi is not just about fame,
For the people, the culture,
Are what gives it a name,
I am glad to have experienced such a place,
For there is no where else I’d rather stay.
Jorja Rynne, 13

My Abu Dhabi
Oh! Abu Dhabi, Dubai, cities of the future
Back in the days, they didn’t even have a computer
Nowadays, they have computers. So now I could play online with my friends
I like to go to the mall with my friends and play video games.

I like to go play football and train with footballs
I play indoors where they have walls.
On another day, Sam and I went to play at my friend’s house,
He had an amazing birdhouse.

The last day, Sam and I went to school
Where everyone acts like a fool
I dislike some subjects because it’s too hard
But at recess, we have a big football field that is as big as 100 yards.
Jade Albouz, 14

I Love Abu Dhabi
In the shades of the palm trees, scattered around
I sometimes rest and here I’m bound
Confined between, these sandy walls
To find myself, in glossy halls.

Through the windows I see,
multicultural crowds
And things that attract me, as I stand here proud
A variety of cuisines and vibrant flavours
That I can choose from and also savour.

The Emirati Heritage that I’ve grown to love
And inspiring traditions, which I often speak of
Entwined in architecture that surrounds me
I look around, as I set myself free
It’s finally time, to say goodbye
For another week that is yet to come by
With higher expectations, and more to do
Abu Dhabi is the place I want to pursue.
Sanae Wasi, 13

My Abu Dhabi
On the weekends I like to go to the pool
And act a fool.
I like to go to Al Forsan and race cars
And then eat some snickers bars.
Going to watch the air shows
And going to Al Ain to see the stars that glow.
Going out to the desert I can ride the
dunes of sand
And hope that my buggy doesn’t get jammed.

I go to the new Yas mall
to buy a new football.
I go to Ferrari world to ride the fastest ride
and hope that I don’t die.
I go to Yas beach
and hope not run into a teacher.
Yas Waterwold has the Liwa loop
And all I can yell is whoop!

I play with my dogs
Then eat some hot dogs.
Sometimes I ride my bikes
And take a hike.

Saturdays are always
Such a sad day
Because I know it will soon be Sunday and
I have to go back to school
And can no longer act a fool.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Issa Al Nahyan, 14

The Horizon
I saw the horizon
On that warm afternoon,
Then I watched the setting sun
And the rising moon.
I take a step on my board
And start to ride off
I push off against the floor
And feel the wind through my hair,
Soft.
I ride down the hills
Of soft sand today,
Because I know there won’t be time
To ride the next day.
Matthew Moye, 14

A Stroke of Light on a Desert Day
I sit down in the desert sand,
Wondering about the beauty of the wide land I call my home,
I dig my hands deep down into the warm sand and slowly feel every single sand grains between my fingers, and again I wonder about life and how beautiful this desert land is.

As the sun rises I can feel every stroke of warmth tickle on my pale skin.
The desert is waking up with every plant and animal inside it. Now come and see, the beauty of the desert, just come and see the desert is alive, the desert lives...
I am the wind, blowing gently through your hair,
you can’t see me but you know I’m always there, brushing slightly across your cheek,
whistling softly into your ear and blowing strongly against the dessert sand, making every dune move... Slowly.

As the sun goes down, the stars come up, the moonlight shine towards you.
The changing moon so full again, just waiting for the day to begin again...
Julia Selinger, 13

The Great Old Fort
I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country
I see the modern culture around the fort
But the fort is still the main attraction
I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country.

I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country
The world around is so new yet so old.
I go to the Corniche and see the country behind
I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country.

I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country
This country may be so young, yet so old
The Grand Mosque is a symbol of greatness
and elegance
I look around the great old fort and see the ways of the country.
Bailey Head, 14


Kids, Grade School

The Flower
Abu Dhabi is like a flower,
A flower that has spectacular power,
It is beautiful night and day,
Especially at the desert and the bay.

Abu Dhabi is now full grown,
It is a city that is all known,
There are cars, buildings such and such,
So many places to eat for dinner and lunch,
Abu Dhabi is a happy place,
Wherever you look, there is never a dull face,
So many people in the crowd,
Some people high to the sky, some low to
the ground.

Abu Dhabi has great amusement and entertainment,
So many places for enjoyment,
Businesses, malls, restaurants here and there,
There is always something incredible everywhere.

This city is so beautiful,
Always looking very youthful,
But the thing that makes Abu Dhabi such an amazing city,
It’s the people who make it pretty.
Samia Idaghdour, 10

My Abu Dhabi
When I close my eyes, I see red, green, white and black, just colours formed in shapes assembled as symbol in form of a flag,
The deep love in my heart, no ocean can drown it and no wind can wipe it.

I feel the magic in the air, I feel the blazing sun Arab oil can never be dearer than Arab blood.
It’s my soul talking to me telling me this is
your hometown this is where you belong, UAE is my soul and heart, I work hard every day to be better in the future everyday I am moving forward every second minute and hour I love
you UAE.
Mahra Al Sharouqi, 5th Grade

Abu Dhabi
Theme Parks, Safaris
Crammed in a bun
Fun, entertainment
All in one.

Lovely, kind people
Everywhere,
You can find any help
Almost anywhere.

Oh Boy! Is there fun
Waiting for you,
Come on don’t miss out
Bring your friends along too.
Tianna Perera, 9

More from Art

The superb new exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi
Art

Local artists are bringing their amazing imaginary landscapes to the gallery

The places where you can see, buy and make works of art

Avant-garde exhibition coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi
Art

Rendevouz in Paris will be on display from September

All you need to know about the new season at Louvre Abu Dhabi
Art

You won't want to miss the latest exhibitions

There's still time to check out the stunning Above exhibition in Abu Dhabi
Art

Head to Manarat Al Saadiyat before the end of August

Check out Sharjah Art Foundation’s new summer programmes
Art

All of the exhibitions are completely free

Newsletters

Follow us