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About Waddah of Yemen

Poem No.: 9 النص العربي: لا يوجد

Love and Death


From the cities of magic and the caves: Waddah arises,

Crowned by the moon of death and the fire of a shooting star,

Falling into the desert,

Carried like an orange nightingale

By the ogress with the caravans

To Syria.

A red feather

Is blown into the air by a magician

He wrote a charm on it

For the ladies of the cities of the wind

The words of the stones falling in the wells,

The dances of fire

Are blown into the chamber of the caliph

Becoming sometimes a poem,

Sometimes a virgin pearl

Falling at the feet of Waddah

Who carries it to bed,

A woman crying with desire

Making love with the night and the crazy light of the moon

Raving, singing, ending from where she did not begin,


Rediscovering on the bed her virginity,

Ashamed of the night

And the crazy light of the moon

She opens her eyes on the ashes of the fire of a shooting star

Falling on the desert

And a red feather

Is blown into the air by the magician

Sometimes turning into a gazelle

With horns made of gold

Sometimes into a priestess practicing seduction

And the game of the end

In the harem of the caliph

His night is haunted by ghosts and boredom.


I did not find salvation in love, but I found God.


I kissed my mistress on the carpet of light

I sang a poem for her

I granted her the sun of Bukhara,

The fields of wheat in Iraq,

The Atlas moon and the spring in Arwad

I granted her the throne of Solomon,

The fire of the night in the desert,

And the gold of the waves in the seas

Upon her lips I printed my love

For all the beautiful women of the world,

And the kisses of the lovers

Within her I sowed

A child from the people

And from the dynasty of the phoenix.


Where do these ghosts come from?

While you slept in her bed 0 Waddah,

Was it the windows of the palace?

Or perhaps the guardians of the walls

Did not close the doors?


In my sleep: I saw the river of death on your breast,

Forcing its current in the flesh of the silence

A hunting dog bites your breast

As the quail begin their migration

Following the orbit of human exile in the world and things

A face of a palace slave

Emerges from my eyes and from the mirror of this dawn

In my sleep I saw him kissing your breasts,

Lying naked over the bed of roses

Smiling for the future


Where are these ghosts from?

While you were sleeping in her bed, O Waddab

Perhaps it was the informer who relieved you

Perhaps it was the caliph who sent after you

The slave, the hunting dog, and the nightmare.


Before it came to be in the books,

In the novels and in the poems,

Othello already existed.

The scorpions of jealousy bit him, O Waddah! Before it

came to be in the books

Othello was a bloody killer,

But Desdemona

Will not die this time.

It is you who will die.

It is you.


Othello in the turban of the caliph

Faces the masses

With his broken sword.


I didn't find salvation in love, but I found God.


I died on the carpet of love,

I didn't die by the sword.

I died inside a box, thrown in the well of night Suffocated,

my secret died with me

And my mistress, on her bed

Innocently caressing the cat, embroidering the moons In

the glacial darkness,

Reciting to the caliph

A tale about cities of magic and their buried treasures

And the morning surprises Desdemona.


Translate by Bassam k. Frangieh

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