Παρασκευή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

TAMIM AL-BARGHOUTI --- 2 poems




Anu: We are nothing while the goat is something. She is right in rejecting our brother the professor, the goat is of a higher rank than us; we are a guess, we are words, we are language, does language bite? If you put language in a field of barley, will you have less barley the next day? Tell me, Enlil, have you ever protected your worshipers from a flood? Have you ever given them water in times of drought? Have you ever granted them victory against an overwhelming enemy? Have you planted love in the heart of a poet’s beloved, when the poet was about to commit suicide because she was in love, not with him, but with the garbage man? Tell me Enlil, have you done anything other than distributing names, like candy in weddings and cups of black coffee in mourning services? You called the flood your wrath and the drought a war between you and me, you called the girl’s rejection a sin for which she had to be burnt at your altar and the poet a martyr over whose shrine a temple should be built for you. You are just distributing names, Enlil. We are but names and name givers, good brother, and if it were not for names we would have been reduced to unemployed statues of granite. Yet a goat is a goat, call her a parrot, a monkey, a wave, a dream, a crisis, a blessing, a curse, an offering, I swear that would not change the sound of her bleating, nor the movement of her jaws as she chewed on grass, nor her bad smell, nor her lust for rams. The goat is a goat whatever you call her; the goat is of a higher rank than us!







    GIFT

 My life is a gift
Given to me
On my zero birthday.
Today I pulled out the ribbon,
Unwrapped the Box
And found lots of things,
Ordinary,
But also wonder-full:
A watch of gold,
And of gold
Is every hour in one’s life;
A jack-in-the box
Which makes you laugh
Or scares you to death, it depends;
Two beautiful baby-dolls,
The first a toy,
The second is not;
A prisoner’s crown and the shackles of a king;
I also found a Jack of Spades
You turn him upside down
He stays the same;
I found books;
I found a long video tape labeled
‘Fifty years of conflict between the Zionists and the Arabs’;
I found hell in an inkpot,
And heaven in an inkpot too;
I found an Arab horse on a race track
Covered with glue;
I found a stove with no flames;
At the bottom of the box,
I found a white card with my name on it,
The rest has not yet been written.

I did not know what to do with all these things!
Oh, God, thank you,
But why the trouble?

I put them all back in the box,
I closed it,
Wrapped it,
Tied the ribbon,
I threw it skywards and up it went,
The gift turned into a host of flying doves
That I will follow forever.
Why did I do that?
I really do not know!

© 2001, Tamim al-Barghouti
© Translation: Radwa Ashour