Thursday, August 1, 2013

SAADI YOUSSEF ~










 
I Saw My Father




I was walking


with my father


through a palm grove,


I was light


like a feather,


my father was light,


he was a cloud


and in the cotton of the cloud


I shut (just as in the dream)


my father's eyes.



London, 7-2-2002






Cloves




Where is the scent of cloves coming from?


her hair?


armpit?


or her dress


thrown on the Tunisian rug?


From the third step in the house?


Layla


makes everything smell of cloves.


Layla


is the orchard when it's wet.


She is

 
what the orchard breathes

 
when it's watered at night.


Layla knows now


that I am drunk with the scent of cloves,


she stitches together my clouds


and then scatters them together


in a sky like a sheet


as she clasps me.


Layla


feels that my fingers are numb,


over the dunes she knows


my pulse is hers,


my water is here.


Layla


leaves me sleeping,


rocking between clouds


and cloves.



London, 12-20-2002






Evening By the Lake



Yesterday


by the lake


the rain was warm,


soft,


like your skin after a dip in the sea.


I thought of you a bit


and swore right away:


I have to catch the evening train!


But I'm lazy,


as you know,


so I forgot about the train —


thought of you a lot,


and brought my face closer


to the surface of the water,


to watch how the sky's waters go home,


how this evening is born.





_________________________

translated from the Arabic 
by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money


Graywolf Press 2012
Nostalgia, My Enemy
Saadi Youssef



Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He has published more than thirty books, and is considered one of the living masters of Arabic poetry. 
He lives in London, England.






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