The Cholera

Nazik al-Malaika

In the stillness of the night,
Listen to the echo of moaning,
In the depth of darkness, beneath the silence, for the dead.
Cries that rise, terrified,
A sorrow that flows, inflamed,
In which the echoing cries of pain stumble.
There’s tumult in every heart, 
Sorrows in the quiet cottage.

Was It Love?

Badr Shaker al-Sayyab

Do you call what I feel infatuation?
Obsessive wishes? Ardor?
What is love?
Melancholy and smiles?
Or is it the fluttering ribs when our eyes meet,
When I would look down, fleeing with my yearning
From a sky which does not quench my burning thirst when I come seeking succor?

Those Who Die While We’re Unaware

Ghassan al-Jibai

Those who die while we’re unaware
And grow older in the graves,
I wonder, what do they think of?
Are they pessimistic?
Do they have the same dreams as us
Or is it only the living who feel pessimistic and dream?
Do they mock our agonies,
Or do they shed tears in secret like us?
Why, then, do they smile whenever we mention them,
And why do they sit stealthily among us,
Without asking for permission,
Dance and revel,
And release from our windows
The doves of speech and the bees of kisses,
If we feel tired, fall silent
Or lose hope?

There Is Light

Da'ad Haddad

In spite of her short life, Da’ad Haddad (1937-1991) left her mark on the Syrian literary landscape. In her life, she only published two books of poetry, “Correcting the Mistake of Death” and “A Crumb of Bread Is Enough for Me.” A third book, “The Tree That Bends Towards the Ground” was published post-humously. All three were compiled into her complete works entitled “I Who Am Driven to Tears by the Intensity of Poetry.”
In her poetry, there is an insistence on confronting misery and injustice, an invitation to contemplate beautiful objects, no matter how small, a glorification of mother nature and an observation of the flux of life, which is not devoid of biting satire or intimate communication.
This text is translated from the Arabic by Fawaz Azem. The Arabic text is from Jehat.com


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