Friday, July 23, 2004

(I want to note that these selections of Arabic poetry are NOT representative of the rich and diverse body of Arab poetry.  They represent my own particular and eccentric taste.  I tend to appreciate melancholic tendencies in arts and literature, and that is reflected in my selections.  I also like Arabic poetry that is neither classical nor modern.  So there.)

From a poem by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
Fire in the ashes
and death in Baghdad
and the ecstasy of color
and the sadness of silence
and dimensions
and the gasping anxiety
and fever
which ruin the veins in their spring
igniting in lines, colors, and blackness
the fires of night that cannot be
the fires of holidays
which were a black spring
a childhood that is missing birth
that could not bear sleeping
it glowed through the wall of
the impossible
and the future of harvest
Who has extinguished the candles
Who has torn the heart in his quiet
Who has hidden the seeds in freeze
and the tears in the hat of a tinsmith
The witness standing in the shadow
dangled his head,
and staggered
Death in birth
autumn in the spring
water in the mirage
and seeds in freeze...
and you are in the fog
opening a path for the sun
opening gates
Enter, oh brothers
the shirt of night is wet
and the fires of youth in
our stingy time
can perform miracles