A Poem for Your Monday



Iram the Many-Columned

Our city fled
So I ran to see its roads
I looked—I saw nothing but the horizon
I saw that the fugitives tomorrow
And those returning tomorrow
Were a body that I tore on my paper.

And I saw—the clouds were a throat
The water was walls of flame
I saw a yellow sticky thread
A thread of history hanging on to me
With which a hand that inherited
The race of puppets and the dynasty of rags
Was pulling at my days, knotting them and undoing them.

I entered the ritual of creation
In the womb of water and the virginity of trees
I saw trees trying to seduce me
Among their branches I saw rooms
Beds and windows resisting me,
I saw children to whom I read
My sand; I read to them
The chapters of “The Clouds” and the verse of “The Stone”;
I saw how they traveled with me
I saw how behind them shone
The ponds of tears and the corpse of rain.

Our city fled
What am I? An ear of corn
Weeping for a skylark
That died behind the snow and the hail
And did not reveal its letters
About me and did not write to anybody
I asked it as I saw its corpse
Lying at the edge of Time
And I shouted, “O icy silence
I am a homeland to its estrangement
I am a stranger and its tomb is my homeland.”

Our city fled
So, I saw how my foot changed into a river roaming in blood
And boats going far and growing larger
I saw that my banks were a drowning
Which tempted, and that my waves were wind and swans.

Our city fled
Rejection is a broken pearl
Whose remains settle on my ships
Rejection is a woodcutter living
On my face—gathering me and kindling me
Rejection is distances that distract me
So that I see my blood and beyond my blood.
My death talking to me and following me.

Our city fled
So I saw how my shroud shone on me
And saw—I wish death would grant me a respite.

Translated by Issa J. Boullata

Image courtesy of Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) at http://en.wahooart.com/@@/8ewl2v-wassily-kandinsky-arab-city


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