Come to the Jasmine

By Nizar Kabbani

I enter the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque
and greet everything in it,
tile to tile,
and dove to dove.
I wander in the gardens of Kufi script
and I pluck beautiful flowers from the discourse of God.
I hear with my eyes the voice of the mosaics
and the music of agate prayer beads.
A state of revelation and bliss overtakes me,
so I climb the steps of the first minaret I encounter
and call out:
“Come to the jasmine,”
“Come to the jasmine.” *

*Come to Prayer, Come to Prayer” is part of the adhan, or the Islamic call to prayer, announced five times a day from mosque minarets.

Excerpt from Nizar Kabbani’s long poem “Ablution with Rose Water and Jasmine.” Translated from the Arabic by Ghada Alatrash

This poem appears in Al Jadid, Vol. 17, no. 64

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