Sunday, August 29, 2004

From the poem Lamentation in Baghdad by Iraqi poet Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
I am searching for a cloud,
that is green
to wipe out melancholy
from me
to carry me
to the mainland of my homeland
to the fields of lilies
to grant me
a butterfly and a star
and a drop to wet my thirst
and a word
because the waters of the Tigris
have been muddied
and have not run
except to flood dams
and villages
So who will, I wonder,
wash me with its water
and under the shadow of its
palmtrees bury me?
Or in a line of poetry, a thousand
years from now, chant me?
My homeland is far
And between us are these black nights
and ink and paper
and a wall of sentiments
Ma`arrat An-Na`man, oh
garden of gold
Summer has come and left
And you are laughing,
distracted, with sands playing
A crow has landed on your balcony
and the loved ones have departed
they dispersed into tribes
and brushwoods have dried up
and nightingales have immigrated
at dusk
Only death in the remains and temples
has stayed
And only poetry has stayed
in the memory of epochs
After a thousand years the grapes
will ripen
and glasses will be filled
and the singer will be revived
Oh, and Oh, my longing and
my sadness