The Book [excerpts]

The Book [excerpts]

Translated from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon

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Translated from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon

My desires open their doors
Towards Baghdad
(Did I say that Baghdad is cloaked in its agonies?)
Let there be confusion between us.
Was it drawn in the Caliph’s book
Torn between one fire and another:
Devastation drags its feet
Across its land
And its feet
Do not lead to any light

[…]

I carry the burdens of my land
Its dreams and worries
But I do not go forward
I walk as if in a shackle
Am I this dust’s fortune teller
Or the sculptor of these clouds?

[…]

Is that a cloud, which cloaks me?
Its rustle is the language
Of fading borders
A labyrinth
And one caravan losing another
I am the testimony
Delirious and bewildered
Like someone walking
On his own remains
Improvising space
Our land is effaced
For too many prophets
Were piled on it

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