Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

Koofa

Translated from Arabic

We did not name it so that it would become a city.
We came to it thirsty
starved
limping on blazing sands,
blinded by sun glow.
We cut the world from Mecca to the palace of Naaman.
We cut the world with a sword
until bone protruded through our hands and whitened.
When we reached water we said
let us rest here
and watch the bank
where water pours, flows, and pours.
We dipped our swords in it.
Trembling, we sheathed our hands
and prayed.

We did not name it so that it would become a city.
We built nothing except the mosque
the wall
and the hut of Ali.

But the first century is no longer the first.
Here we are now leaving it
H
U
N
G
from
the gun barrels of tanks.

Amman, June 27, 1993
English

We did not name it so that it would become a city.
We came to it thirsty
starved
limping on blazing sands,
blinded by sun glow.
We cut the world from Mecca to the palace of Naaman.
We cut the world with a sword
until bone protruded through our hands and whitened.
When we reached water we said
let us rest here
and watch the bank
where water pours, flows, and pours.
We dipped our swords in it.
Trembling, we sheathed our hands
and prayed.

We did not name it so that it would become a city.
We built nothing except the mosque
the wall
and the hut of Ali.

But the first century is no longer the first.
Here we are now leaving it
H
U
N
G
from
the gun barrels of tanks.

Amman, June 27, 1993