2012 / 3 / 13
The House of the Poet
To: Hussain Sarmak
By: Muwaffaq Muhammad (From: To be in Dust is Better than among the Savage)
Translated by Dr Hussain Alwan Hussain
Nobody lives in it:
A dead palm-tree near the outer wall,
And locked songs.
One room for grief;
for ghosts that shackle the hearts.
And on-looking windows
That have undressed all its glass.
Nothing but Death blows into this mood,
And sees whoever He may desire.
And I have prepared the poem for Death;
Free and open;
Dancing with the demons on the artery cord
That crawls like a snake around the shrinks of the neck.
What is happening on the arena?
Cats jumping from a rope to rope;
And troubled, mad visions;
Plus a horse promising to run behind the cart.
The soul, fluttering with poetry, has no door;
Nor has the heart.
How can death walk under the wing of pleasure,
Robbing all the mates?
And why all this noise,
As we resent a goat s blow?
The bulbul becks before the fig my heart
And I have prepared for death the poem;
A Date-palm tree with ear-rings of gold.
Death had grown tired of poetry
Of the bleeding foreheads.
Death has changed its steps
And I can see in myself some of His visions
Descending – ascending upon a window.
Nothing is like Death: a terrifying hunter
Twisting the necks of hunting despots.
He bribed the bulbul to chant,
And the date-palm to grant me a shadow.
The bulbul grew tired of the biting of years:
He wasn t familiar with the bough s injustice
As He burns him with the fruit s prices;
So He clapped his wing and soared,
Enquiring about the savior.
His voice lost all its strength.
Lo Bulbul: "Aim your gun to survive."
Said the guillotine edges.
The Grave changed its steps,
And I can see Him crawling towards the body.
He said: "Who is in there with you?"
We said: "No one."
He said: "Let me in then, for the grave is extendable!"
He couldn t find my heart in the chest;
Ney, not even a fig in the grave;
So He ran away, burning with a craving moan.
The Grave overseas a deep valley;
On the right, there is a bleeding pen;
On the left, there are eyes asking the cloud
To extinguish the fire;
And little leaves wherein my blood wept.
So why did the Grave fix its steps?
Why did He deny the sound its echo,
When I had not relieved my pain?
Is that because I m poled in nothingness?
Or because I didn t sell to flatter my pen?