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Poetry

from “October 27, 2003”

By Etel Adnan
Translated from French by C. Dickson
“Characterized by quiet urgency, an elliptical, delicate consciousness, and exquisite sensitivity, Etel Adnan’s language takes the reader on passages that thread in and out of their own feelings, their own consciousness.”—Diana Abu Jaber

come, come! a jasmine sprig behind the ear
is from some declining twilight
they would rather speak no more
of human matters. but then stones
are not much better.

words, for effect, cloak themselves in
Tyrien purple, and it is in
the spaces that are between
where the real adventure lies

I close the shutters and wonder
where the light has gone that was fondling
the sea as we looked on

it’s nice being here in discontinuity, the
dwelling place of birds, and being aware that
the world’s nations feed on plunder: armed with
this disillusion, we can bring ourselves to
bear the unbearable

don’t abandon your childhood and its sorrows
your first desire will follow you
till your very last breath. roads can lead to
inspiration but never to peace
of heart.

Paris, October 27, 2003

 

© Etel Adnan. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2008 by C. Dickson. All rights reserved.

English

come, come! a jasmine sprig behind the ear
is from some declining twilight
they would rather speak no more
of human matters. but then stones
are not much better.

words, for effect, cloak themselves in
Tyrien purple, and it is in
the spaces that are between
where the real adventure lies

I close the shutters and wonder
where the light has gone that was fondling
the sea as we looked on

it’s nice being here in discontinuity, the
dwelling place of birds, and being aware that
the world’s nations feed on plunder: armed with
this disillusion, we can bring ourselves to
bear the unbearable

don’t abandon your childhood and its sorrows
your first desire will follow you
till your very last breath. roads can lead to
inspiration but never to peace
of heart.

Paris, October 27, 2003

 

© Etel Adnan. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2008 by C. Dickson. All rights reserved.

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