Sunday, 17 August 2014

For Noha Al Hegelan - Venus Khoury-Ghata

At that time the earth was so high up
women hung out clouds and laundry on the same line
angels gripped their skirts to keep them from following stray souls

Everything that frequented water had a soul
clay jug, gourd, basin
buckets fished out the ones stagnating in the wells’ indifference

Every moving shadow sketched a phantom
every cock-crow became an omen
the announcer of births spoke louder than the waterfall
but more softly than the wind which had taken over the indoors and the outdoors
swelling the paltry fields
pushing back the horizon of an acre as soon as the houses shrank to the size of cages

The wise man tried not to cross its path
it would break a man for you over its knee like a straw

Venus Khoury-Ghata (born 1937) Lebanon
Translated by Marilyn Hacker

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