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Poetry

An Alphabetical Formation

Translated from Arabic
AlifYou're not beginning . . .It's an eternity, you know . . .I mean, the ever-after, you knowNo matter, then.Raise your cavalryBut do not leave behind the horizon,Or the sea . . . or the soillines 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 exposed blood,flowing from poetry,or a tear from prose,and there are no windowsthrough which to see them, the othersand the others are ourselves . . .Do the dead epitomize the living?Well, then . . . does captivity test thewings a bird uses toswoop down freely?So that it has not discovered significance farFrom their twin meanings. 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 themThe woman rises . . .to see the before and the afterfrom the inside and the outside . . .We have disregarded the skyand performed ablutions upon rising,then prayed at its knee until noonthe sultans passed by without their dreams,they were dragging coffinswe call thrones!Do you really see? . . . we ask ourselvesand 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 glassthe naked trees . . . our remainsfor he who gathers enoughof the silence that extinguishes an emberwe no longer grasp, we've returnedand raked letterswhose eyes have lost their lashes in sorrow,for a glorious silencethey have pierced its seclusion . . .the silence indicts armiesand judges and turncoats . . . and titles . . .It does not forget . . . So discard it from your master's resolutions,or from the binding of the threads that remind. Thal Oblivious to design, this tomorrow is baffled by intentand the yesterday that moansfrom our first humanity.Rather, baffled by our first blood,for this I search the nightfor a new mastersowing wheat with his palms,singing from our songs,and quenching his thirst from our casksand if fury remains, then an invasion isundertaken Nun A palm tree is my ribAnd my spirit a brown horseAnd memory my pavilionFor to whom do I leave my belongings?And to whom do I entrust my desireFor a mirage that doesn't betray its masterOne day as the capitolshave betrayed their natives Yah Has he finished . . . ?No . . .He does not know this verb,and he does not accept its conjugations,it embarks within usand if he arrives to shore,he says:  Apologize to it for me.Around me is a vaster bluenessout of your dreamsImru al-Qayswas straying from itand so, it strayed from him.The poet has finished and as for the poetry . . .We said no . . .And we say we'll try.March 7, 1992

English
AlifYou're not beginning . . .It's an eternity, you know . . .I mean, the ever-after, you knowNo matter, then.Raise your cavalryBut do not leave behind the horizon,Or the sea . . . or the soillines 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 exposed blood,flowing from poetry,or a tear from prose,and there are no windowsthrough which to see them, the othersand the others are ourselves . . .Do the dead epitomize the living?Well, then . . . does captivity test thewings a bird uses toswoop down freely?So that it has not discovered significance farFrom their twin meanings. 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 themThe woman rises . . .to see the before and the afterfrom the inside and the outside . . .We have disregarded the skyand performed ablutions upon rising,then prayed at its knee until noonthe sultans passed by without their dreams,they were dragging coffinswe call thrones!Do you really see? . . . we ask ourselvesand 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 glassthe naked trees . . . our remainsfor he who gathers enoughof the silence that extinguishes an emberwe no longer grasp, we've returnedand raked letterswhose eyes have lost their lashes in sorrow,for a glorious silencethey have pierced its seclusion . . .the silence indicts armiesand judges and turncoats . . . and titles . . .It does not forget . . . So discard it from your master's resolutions,or from the binding of the threads that remind. Thal Oblivious to design, this tomorrow is baffled by intentand the yesterday that moansfrom our first humanity.Rather, baffled by our first blood,for this I search the nightfor a new mastersowing wheat with his palms,singing from our songs,and quenching his thirst from our casksand if fury remains, then an invasion isundertaken Nun A palm tree is my ribAnd my spirit a brown horseAnd memory my pavilionFor to whom do I leave my belongings?And to whom do I entrust my desireFor a mirage that doesn't betray its masterOne day as the capitolshave betrayed their natives Yah Has he finished . . . ?No . . .He does not know this verb,and he does not accept its conjugations,it embarks within usand if he arrives to shore,he says:  Apologize to it for me.Around me is a vaster bluenessout of your dreamsImru al-Qayswas straying from itand so, it strayed from him.The poet has finished and as for the poetry . . .We said no . . .And we say we'll try.March 7, 1992