Friday, January 15, 2021

‘The Siege’ and ‘The Postman’s Fear’, by Muḥammad al-Mâġûṭ

‘The Siege’, from Joy Is Not My Profession:
My tears run blue
since I look constantly to the skies, and cry.
My tears run yellow:
I dream long of golden wheat, and cry.

Let the leaders go to war,
lovers to forests,
and scientists to laboratories.
As for me,
I'll take to a sagging chair and worry beads
so that I can go back to being
an old frame on the door of sorrow
as long as all the books, constitutions and religions
are certain that I will die either
hungry or a prisoner.

And ‘The Postman’s Fear’, in the same anthology:
Prisoners everywhere,
send me all you've seen
of horror and weeping and boredom-
Fishermen on every shore,
send me all you know
of empty nets and whirling seas-
Peasants in every land,
send me all you have
of flowers and old rags,
of torn breasts,
pierced abdomens
and wrenched-out finger nails.
Send them to my address
in any cafe on any street in the world:
I am preparing a huge portfolio
on human suffering
to present to God
as soon as it is signed by the lips of the hungry
and the eyelids of the waiting.
But oh, you miserable ones everywhere,

I have a fear
that God may be illiterate.

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