Poetry: quarantine with abdelhalim hafez

the lyrics do not              translate
arabic     is all verbs      for what stays
still          in other languages
تصبح         to morning       what the
translation      to awake      cannot
honor cannot contain its rhyme with
تسبح      to swim        t        to  make
the night a body               of water

i am here now & i cannot morning
i am twenty-three        & always
sick      small for my age & always
translating          i  cannot sleep
through the night

no language       has given me the
rhyme              between ocean &
wound         that i know to be true
sometimes          when the doctors
draw my useless blood          i feel
the word     at the tip of my tongue

halim sings     أعرق              araq
I am drowning      i am drowning
the single word    for all the water
in his throat       does not translate

halim sings    teach me to kill the
tear in its duct         halim sings
i have no experience      in love
nor have i a boat      & i know he
cannot rest               cannot swim
through the night

i am looking     for a  voice    with
a wound in it      a man who could
only have died           by a form of
drowning            let the song take
its  time            let the ocean close
back up

-Safia Elhillo, winner of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: