Stop, and weep Not sadness over the corpse of the remnants of a cursed god and so not a sadness over a bird burdened with open space Don't take me- Don't leave me- maybe, my two friends, it's a wasteland without language maybe you too can postpone the probability of death a little for my prison cell is my body and the ode incidental freedom * * * A palm tree shakes off its pollen breaking into tears- Whom have I struck, if the lightning-herder goes astray? And who has struck me? Is he rising? The earth follows- is he falling? Overcome, surely he is higher than the sky below- * * * I said this is my vision and my bleeding attests to it. The river doesn't bend except for this wager but I, when a woman falls heavily at the end of night, I forget my hands on her voice, and then she slips away leaving me my chains, to write something, finally- but I, whenever the late birds struggle the horizon chokes within me or has the hour's mirage raised the dust I gargle Oh, these two . . . give me back a little space since my cell is a body I claim and a freedom that claims me- Give me back a question for the answers scattered by the tribes or that scattered me over them, no harm in that . . . Look: the coming day, overflowing, will gather me teardrop by teardrop, like an ode in its cradle, and then illuminate me suddenly, like a verse at its climax, and bless me with its antithesis. * * * Oh sister . . . mother . . . Any lover . . . If god saw his image in our embraces, it would be revealed . . . But he doesn't see- other than locked doors and shackles- And the sky stretches under the soldiers' boots- other than a braided sky its throne is of blood its law acid- Does the spirit breathe in from the trees of Dujeil, the description and the bombardment making them stagger until they send back what's been inhaled as blood in Rabat? That minaret-a stab in the void That mast-its heel in dirt that doesn't end in the sky. This is Golgotha and blood washes the Nile of its water, Barada of its nightmares, and the Euphrates. * * * I said this is my vision and you, too, witness an ember . . . two embers . . . three And dawn breaks its blue doesn't stray neighing, neighing running its course making known the parting of this time- We're all heading toward what's to come . . . They've all passed on to what's gone. So cushion me in the tenderness of my wounds then, and get up . . . The child writes in the "sea" meter at the beginning of his notebook: And they stand-only a step- shedding just a tear as they get up. Tadmor Prison 1992
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