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The forward to Uyghur Poems includes a poem that the editor and translator of at least some of the poems, Aziz Isa Elkun, wrote. It is dedicated to his mother, who he lost contact with in 2017.

The place where I was born
Has turned into a heal of ghostly relics
It exists only as a memory...

My roses are blooming with hope
Singing a song of freedom
Without wanting for the spring
They remind us
How beautiful it is to be alive
To live in peace in our beautiful world.

What was the origin of this poem? Was this originally written in the Uyghur language, or did the author write this in English? Was this poem written specifically for this collection, or did the author write it earlier?

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From the lines you quote, the poem is clearly taken from Roses, a poem that Aziz Isa Elkin wrote in London in October 2021. In it he is sitting in his garden, recalling how he planted his first rose bush three years earlier to mark the destruction of his father’s grave, the second to mark Mother’s Day (and thus his enforced separation from his mother) the previous year, and the third in memory of the unknown Uyghurs who are held in the prison camps. The full text of the poem is available from the Los Angeles Review of Book website. I reproduce here the verses which contain the quoted lines:

The place where I was born.
Has turned into a heap of ghostly relics
It only exists amongst the non-existence
In this world full of selfishness.

...

My roses are blossoming with hope
Singing a song of freedom
Without waiting for the spring
They remind us
How beautiful it is to be alive
To live in peace in our beautiful world.

Apart from noting that it was written in London (which could possibly indicate that the poem was originally written in English), little information seems to be available about the poem. An article in The Irish Times from February 2024, however, includes some information about the Uyghur Poems anthology edited by Elkun:

The first poem in Aziz’s anthology is a translation by him of a work by Mahmud Kashgari, who died in 1102, and the last is a translation by him of one of his own poems, Roses, which he wrote on October 10th, 2021.

which indicates that Roses is a translation, presumably from Uyghur. This possibly also accounts for the minor differences between the LA Review's version and the lines quoted in Uyghur Poems such as, "it only exists amongst the non-existence" versus "It only exists as a memory".

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