From the Editors
The New York Times says Jadaliyya "Brings New Life to Arab Studies." Read about it by clicking here.
I used to,
I often used to hope
as autumn painted forests with gold
or muted crimson,
I so hoped to see Iraq’s face in the morning
to loosen water’s braids over me,
to satisfy its mermaids with salty tears,
to float over Abu l-Khaseeb’s rivulets to ask the trees:
Do you, trees, know where my father’s grave is?
. . .
I often used to hope!
Let it be .
Let autumn finish its cycle.
Iraq’s trees will remain naked.
Iraq’s trees will remain high.
Iraq’s trees will be secretly in the company
of my father’s face.
As fall winds wailed
in the surrounding hills
Are we, my friend, two rocks?
How often have the winds wailed?
How often have we been struck?
--by cold and harm?
How often have we lost our bets?
Yet we stand here.
. . .
I said: Don't grieve.
We are the eye of time
O Nostalgia: My enemy
We’ve been at it for thirty years.
We meet like two thieves on a journey
whose details are not fully known.
With every passing station
the train cars decrease in number,
the light grows dimmer.
But your wooden seat, occupying all trains,
still has its constants.
The etchings of years--
cameras no one remembers,
and trees that lie under dirt;
I took a look at you
for a moment,
then rushed panting to the last car
faraway from you
. . .
I said: the road is long.
I took out my bread and a piece of cheese from my sack.
I saw you eyeing me, this way
sharing my bread and cheese!
How did you find me?
Jump at me like a hawk?
I didn’t travel tens of thousands of miles,
didn’t wander across many countries,
didn’t know thousands of branches
so that you could come now, steal my treasure,
and corner me.
Now leave your seat and get off the train,
my train will speed past after this station
--so get off,
and let me go
where no train will ever stop.
Translated by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money.
From Sa`di Yusuf, al-A`mal al-Shi`riyya: al-Juz' al-Sadis (Beirut & Baghdad:Dar al-Jamal, 2009)
2 comments for "Three Poems by Saadi Youssef"
If you prefer, email your comments to email@example.com.
Hot on Facebook
Jadalicious / جدلشس
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- Iraqi Odyssey in NYC
- دمشق 2013
- الهوامش التي نعيش فيها
- Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (November 24)
- A Moveable Feast? Reflections on the French Coverage of the Paris Attacks
- Palestine Media Roundup (November 19 - 25)
- Last Week on Jadaliyya (November 16-22)
- Maghreb Media Roundup (November 26)
- The Diaspora, Debt, and Dollarization: Unraveling Lebanon’s Resilience to a Sovereign Debt Crisis
- في العلاقة الشائكة بين التاريخ والتطرّف
- New Texts Out Now: Safinaz El Tarouty, Businessmen, Clientelism, and Authoritarianism in Egypt
- Anthropologists Speak Out for Justice in Palestine
- STATUS/الوضع: Issue 2.3 is Live! Celebrating Our One-Year Anniversary
- يكفيني أن ألمس ورقة خضراء حتى أرى
- Egypt Media Roundup (November 23)
- عصفورية إلى الأبد
- Affirming the Rights of Students to Organize, Protest, and Resist (City University of New York)
- Terror Everywhere, Humanity Nowhere
- الجلبي، عبد الرزاق عبد الواحد: سجال ما بعد الديكتاتور
- القصائدُ قرودٌ؛ هكذا كلّ واقعٍ في عين أمّه غزال