Do not slap me, destiny,
Metres of smacks already cover my face.
Here I am, while the wind's blowing in the streets,
Charging out of books, dictionaries and taverns
The same way soldiers charge out of trenches.
O centuries, mean like an insect,
You who seduced me with a fan instead of a storm,
With matches instead of volcanos.
I will never forgive you.
I will return to my village, on foot if need be
I will spread, on my arrival, rumours about you.
I will lie down on the grass and beside the ditches
Like a knight exhausted after battle.
Like trained dogs leaping circles of fire
I will cross these gates and windows,
These sleeves and collars,
Flying like a hawk
Above the shyness of virgins
And the suffering of workers
At twilight spreading my wings like a swallow
In search of a virgin land that at the lightest touch
Of a cottage, a palace, an emir or a begger,
Will leap in the air as a wild horse
At the touch of a saddle,
A land that has not existed and will never exist
Except in my notebooks.
All right, century, you have defeated me,
But I will not find in all the Orient
A summit where I can hoist
The flag of my surrender.
Translated by Abdul Kader El Janabi