Take off the masks, people,
And also walk barefoot and naked.
There’s a light at the end of the long night,
There are days.
I bid you farewell tonight oh flute,
I bid sad poetry farewell—
I bid the dance of death farewell
I bid the lights,
This night comes slowly—
Bearing the last memories,
Tonight, is the feast of death,
And tonight, you’ll say “she used to be”
The ‘Ah’ has grown hoarse,
It has grown longer and died.
These nights—This is Damascus
And beyond—It’s not after waiting
That I lie next to the wild silence
And the pale moon,
And sleep on the blank page—
Nothing is smaller than this planet,
Stay up tonight to the dregs.
This wild porcupine
Runs Along the roads—
Eating thorns, and sleeps under the tree trunk—
Nothing is quieter than the life of the wild porcupine,
And nothing is gentler than the life of the wild porcupine
This is the face of the executioner.
Take your sword
And plunge it in the heart.
A red flower blooms
Which I gift to my love—
What are these distances
And empty spaces—?
Alone, I run infinitely.
There’s nothing but amazement and absurdity,
Nothing limits these distances,
Neither a friendly hand
Nor a loving hand.
Let me stop.
Oh, widening life,
Where are your walls
And your gates?
Where are the good guardians of the earth, where are the smiling angels?
At times I grow,
And at times I grow smaller.
Even the fences and the thorns
And the lights have turned off.
Is this a desert—
Are these dreams
That we wake up from?
I’m a child with colored ribbons,
I weave my dress
And make my own doll,
But who should I gift all this beauty to?
While the world is desolate and widening,
And I’m running infinitely.
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 poem and text are translated from the Arabic by Fawaz Azem. The Arabic text is from Jehat.com. The poem comes from a collection of poems entitled “There Is Light.”
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