Friday, January 28, 2005

A Letter to the Village by Syrian poet Muhammad Al-Maghut (my translation):
"With the chanting of nightingales and birds
I plead by god with you my father:
Let go of the gathering of wood
and information about me
and come and pick up my pieces
from the streets
before I get buried by wind
or be scattered by street cleaners
This pen will bring my end
It has led me to every prison
It has made me wipe every sidewalk
and I follow it, mesmerized
like one walking in a dream
In the evening, my father
the cold and desolate--like the depth of the ocean--evening of Damascus
where this one looks for a bar
and another looks for a shelter
I look for a "word"
for a letter that I can place next to another
like an old cat
jumping from a wall to another
in a deserted village
while mewing in search of his cat think I am happy, father?
I have tried over and over again
to shake off ink from this pen
like a dagger shakes off blood
and to leave this city
even on the back of a horse
but I failed
My pen can smell ink
like the male smells the female
whenever it sees a white page
it stops and trembles
like a thief in front of an open window
I sleep
with only my skin on the bed
my skull is in prison
and my feet are in the alleys
my hands are in the grass
like the huge Santiago fish
Only the ribs and eye cavities have
remained of me
Remove me from your memory
Go back to your fork and sad songs
You have been dragged my father
And tomorrow everything is impossible
like stopping the bleeding in the fingers"