Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Crying of the Swallow by Syrian poet Muhammad Al-Maghut (my translation):
To those who stabbed me in the back
while I was leaning over my papers
like a Shaykh over his rug
The wolf and the serpent will
never be two doves under the rain
Rain is for me
Rain, thunder, wind, and streets
It is my possession
And I have a document
from the sky to that effect
Is it true that you walked
under the rain?
And on my pavements
and in my streets?
Then I will not love rain
after today
Not rain, nor wind,
nor the moon, nor the rocks
I will love my people...
My people, embrace me.
You are the wise father
And I am the misguided child
You are the sweeping flood
And I am the crumbling hut
Give me a last chance, and wait
I will love your workers and peasants
I will even brag about your harlots and mud
And will paint my forehead with it
like the Indian warrior
I will stand frozen to the salute of the flag
I will yell like a madman in demonstrations
But do not be harsh on me, my people
I have abandoned you, because
you have abandoned me
I have ignored you, because
you have ignored me
But I swear by what is taboo
and glorious
I have never forgotten you
I have been buried under worries
and discussions
about boredom and revealing
I have been thinking about your
thin sheep
and the accumulated sick people
in the hallways
And I was lighting the cigarettes
of the invited
And laughing hard in the parties
I have been thinking about
your muddy villages
And your wobbly old women
under the oil lamps
Come on
We both have harmed the other
Let us injure our fingers by any
way possible
Let us drink a droop of blood
from one another
let us befriend
let us mix our tears and worries
like stolen coins
And let us depart alone
Against time, against the storm
And the scars moves on our foreheads
like the arms of the clocks...