Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Gift - Tamim Barghouti

My life is a gift
Given to me
On my zero birthday.
Today I pulled out the ribbon,
Unwrapped the Box
And found lots of things,
But also wonderful:
A watch of gold,
And of gold
Is every hour in one’s life;
A jack-in-the box
Which makes you laugh
Or scares you to death, it depends;
Two beautiful baby-dolls,
The first a toy,
The second is not;
A prisoner’s crown and the shackles of a king;
I also found a Jack of Spades
You turn him upside down
He stays the same;
I found books;
I found a long video tape labelled
‘Fifty years of conflict between the Zionists and the Arabs’;
I found hell in an inkpot,
And heaven in an inkpot too;
I found an Arab horse on a race track
Covered with glue;
I found a stove with no flames;
At the bottom of the box,
I found a white card with my name on it,
The rest has not yet been written.

I did not know what to do with all these things!
Oh, God, thank you,
But why the trouble?

I put them all back in the box,
I closed it,
Wrapped it,
Tied the ribbon,
I threw it skywards and up it went,
The gift turned into a host of flying doves
That I will follow forever.
Why did I do that?
I really do not know!

Tamim Barghouti (born 1977) Egypt
Translated by Radwa Ashour
Source: Arabic Poetry

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