As a part of its continuing effort to share a portion of the literary wealth of Arabic poetry with the English reader, The Arab American News translates a poem by the legendary Syrian poet Muhammad al-Maghut.
The Confession Chair
With the wind blowing and the snow falling around me
I sat in my poetic hut
and buried my emotional, physical, historical chestnuts,
and went along, waiting.
help me to tell the truth
and face reality
and endure thirst
and not to turn down a person in need
and to recover the expenses of hope on hope
One hand cannot clap.
Haven't you had enough applause?
Reconstructing the flower
and invading the gala
My teeth are hard as my sickle
I cover myself with my fields and wheat
and sleep on my hunger.
My tears are as numerous as my mistakes
and my mistakes are as numerous as my commitments
My courage is as numerous as my weapons
My hesitation is as numerous as my battlefronts
And my hours of sleep are as numerous as my nightmares
My nightmares are as numerous as my pillows and the
vastness of my country
And my country is as vast as my sidewalks and notebooks.
— Translated from Arabic by Ali Harb