blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2010  Vol. 9  No. 2
print version
translation by Khaled Mattawa


No one knows stone like me.
I seeded it in the fetus of the mountain,
and I reared it on blossoms of metal.
It grew like a walking child
and I followed in its footsteps.
Its silence is a listening heart
and its solitude is an alphabet that teaches speech,
a burnishing that suffices for treasures,
and imprints itself on books and mirrors.
I read in it the glass of paradise, and the amulets of passion.
It rises lightly, and offers the wind the company of books,
like me.

Solitary, and a companion to strangers.
Its water is the wakefulness of pinnacles.
It guards the sleep of trees, and bends.
At every slope it has an envoy washed by snow,
that it takes from the sea the messages of the waves.
With eyes that exude yearning in a stranger’s childhood,
and chased like a tiger swinging in nets that dangle about me,
it listens to the pulse in arteries.
It glows and lusts, roves
and raves,
                   like me.
It knows secrets and scandals,
is well-versed in the unseen.
The rose takes from it its purpose, and it gazes from the mountain
as the sky discloses and dissolves its shapes.

Like me
its names are in metals
          and in the adversary’s alibi.
Like me,
a lover melting, its water is anxiety and the paradise of loss.
It endures love
          and is filled with travel and desire for ecstasy,
like me.
It alone knows the history of my steps and my errors.
It forgives and forgets
                                      . . . like me.  end

   Words from a Young Night

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