Alif You're not beginning . . . It's an eternity, you know . . . I mean, the ever-after, you know No matter, then. Raise your cavalry But don't set out for the horizon, Or the sea . . . or the soil lines for beginnings, finish me off on a wire. You are not beginning now, watch out . . . anyone who begins is deceived Ba We haven't yet finished the elegy for the century, We haven't explained blood, flowing from poetry, or a tear from prose, and what of glories, to see through them just ourselves, and in ourselves, only us . . . Do the dead epitomize the living? Well, then . . . does captivity test the wings a bird uses to swoop down freely, or does it discover significance far from their twin meaning? Ta That's a mirror, and this a woman, the woman rises . . . So let the mirror be shattered, and the ruler, and the secret between them The woman rises . . . to see the before and the after from the inside and the outside we' ve obscured the sky, and performed ablutions at dawn, then prayed at its knee until noon the sultans passed by without their dreams, they were dragging coffins we call thrones! Do you really see? . . . we ask ourselves and how is it they've triumphed? Only defeats have been victorious Kha The beginning of wine is the shadow . . . And it is not content with the volcano, we've raked the languages of serenity, to raise a glass the naked trees . . . our remains for he who gathers enough of the silence that extinguishes an ember we no longer grasp, we' ve returned and raked letters whose eyes have forsaken sorrow, for a glorious silence they have stabbed its isolations . . . the silence indicts armies and judges and turncoats . . . and titles . . . It does not forget . . . a summons from your master's resolutions, or from the binding of the threads that remind. Thal Oblivious to design, this tomorrow is baffled by intent and the yesterday that moans from our first humanity. Rather, baffled by our first blood, for this I search the night for a new master sowing wheat with his palms, singing from our songs, and quenching his thirst from our casks and if fury remains, then an invasion is undertaken Nun A gift is my rib And my spirit a brown horse And memory my pavilion For to whom do I leave my belongings? And to whom do I entrust my desire For a mirage that doesn't betray its master one day as the capitals have betrayed their inhabitants Yah Has he finished . . . ? No . . . He does not know this deed, and doesn't accept its definitions, it embarks within us and if he arrives to shore, he says: Apologize to it for me. Around me is a vaster blueness out of your dreams Imru al-Qays was straying from it and so, it strayed from him. The poet has finished and as for the poetry . . . We say no . . . And we say: we'll try. March 7, 1992
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