Thursday, 17 July 2014

Psalm at the end of the night - Hatif Janabi

Hopes are lost because too many are devout
in their supplication.
Shapes howl under the weight of sinners.
And I sit alone chanting the last song
the dreamers sang
and an outcast hummed to the wilderness.
I rinse the dust of old proverbs
with autumn tears
with the whistling of the stars that stare vacantly
at the theatre of words.

All that my brothers told me
and all that my father flung on my back like cape
is not worth the scent of a lost kiss
not worth the moaning of stones
not worth the sighs of an evening
longing to see the day
not worth the burning thirst of one body
for another.

Hopes die at the sight of trees
and words become the body’s dust.

Listen to me:
I stand alone singing the last elegy
the godhead sang
to a human soul.

Hatif Janabi (born 1952) Iraq
Translated by Khaled Mattawa
(published in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature)

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