Thursday, August 1, 2013


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


Where is the scent of cloves coming from?

her hair?


or her dress

thrown on the Tunisian rug?

From the third step in the house?


makes everything smell of cloves.


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.


feels that my fingers are numb,

over the dunes she knows

my pulse is hers,

my water is here.


leaves me sleeping,

rocking between clouds

and cloves.

London, 12-20-2002

Evening By the Lake


by the lake

the rain was warm,


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.