Saturday, 6 May 2017

April Woman - Salma Jayyusi

Poem to My Son

I am an April woman:
December ash that consumes itself
frightens me

My son, hide me while you rocket to the stars
spreading over the earth like grass
Winter thunderstorm will drink down
my river flowing with love's secrets,
muffling that music in whose echoes
you were born.
But you shrug your shoulders:
‘This woman is planted in time
she bridges the air like a dove
a thousand years old.
She is a willow, I know her:
bend her - she springs back
She is a palm tree, I know her
pick her fruit - she makes more
honey and dates
She is a cypress tree, I know her
she never loses her leaves
What do December storms mean to her?’

Yet the winter winds do howl, my son,
night and day I yearn for you
for your sweet sarcastic voice
your voice wise and cruel, innocent and selfish.

Night and day I miss you
We both live in space, in the wind and the rain
Each of us drinks his own wine
each of us is poured in his own glass
for you were made of my elements.

I gave you:
my impetuous soul
my constant disappearance
flitting far away across the world
my chronic elusiveness
a will like rock, loyal
as the true stars
in the sky's valleys.
And I gave you:
love's ecstasy
the will to conquer
passionate devotion
and the enchantment of the spirit
in the presence of holy fire.

Should I blame you?

And you gave me:
a promise and pledge
security forever delayed
love that's here and is never here
Should you blame me?
I am a wild gazelle
you are rock
My head is bloodied.

Salma Jayyusi (born 1926) Jordan (now lives in Palestine)
Translated by the author and Charles Doria
Source: PoemHunter

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