At Kerak Citadel
Always, at sunset, the castle walls begin to breathe.
The war is over—it has been two or twenty centuries now.
But then suddenly when night falls, the war comes back.
Soldiers in their towers light their candle, far from the gusting wind
And alone, they cry to themselves.
The Messenger will come.
Most definitely he will come, carrying his head on the tip of a spear.
Perhaps he was exhausted and, in his long wait, forgot that spears blossom in the morning.
Do you think he will wake up? The soldiers in the tower,
The candle slowly fading, the morning that has not come,
And the he-will-arrive Messenger, his head fixed on a pike,
He still has not arrived.
What will those soldiers do with the wetness of the morning?
What are they doing even now?
The citadel walls have stopped breathing.
And the candle, now a lump of coal, in the water, in the wind.
The wars have ended.
But they will always call out to their soldiers.
Always, every evening.
And the soldiers will come.
… … …
… … …
… … …
The soldiers will weep.
Amman, December 14, 1992.
From Saadi Yousef, Aysha bint al-Basha (Beirut: Maktabat al-Jamal, 2014)