Before cold winters - Abdel-Monem Ramadan

www.jehat.com
2008-12-12 | Since 11 Year

I'll come into the room
and I'll shelter within its ceiling and walls
I open the window for the sea to keep its bounds 
                    for the distant coast 
                                 the houses 
                                 the trees 
                                               to keep their bounds 
                          parting the scale lining the water and the sky
A stranded boat draws near a chasm 
The turquoise plumbs the depths of its self 
                                           its self 
                        as if it is this very moment a traveller 
                        or a mould made by God -- still warm
I prepare the chair 
                        its back against the wall facing the window 
It won't do
I move it away
I sit on the floor
                           where before I had set the chair 
There was the shiny wooden floor 
there was the wall supporting me 
and there were the eyes
                           I cast them away
I cast off every urge for another
but then I heard the sound of the door
I said: It's the breeze drifting towards the sea
                           it's trapped
Then I heard the sound of steps brushing
                           almost like a hissing
I said: It may be her white shoes
After six steps
                           seven steps
I thought the window facing the sea 
                           was filled
Should I have remained thus
I'll open my eyes
I'll be contented
Should I have remained thus
I saw in my sleep
                           an animal with hooves
                           pass over my body
I said: I know this
                           it is one that keeps the pace of time
After that I saw fleeting joy
I said: I know this
After that I saw myself
as one alone sitting with his despair
           facing 
                          buttocks
                    You'd think they'd end the hunger
                    Two thighs below were anticipating their pleasure
joyfully
There was the shiny wooden floor
there was the wall supporting me
and there were the eyes
I was resolved not to perish
I was resolved to ask God who preceded me 
                     in reproaching Him:
                           O God why
                           if you were to make me of clay 
                           if I were to abound with breaches 
                           would you descend on my cloud
                           would you leave me to stray
                           and consume my own blood 
Even when I cast off every urge for another 
you came up with a window
facing the coast and sea
and behind it the dress, the thighs and those buttocks
and asked me, as though we were enemies, what's your sign?
My sign, O God, is
pursuing the body I'm permitted to savour 
receiving from it my breakfast morsel at breakfast 
                           and my supper morsel at supper 
Being thus contented
you asked me, as though we were enemies, what's your sign?
My sign is what you demand and what I don't
You asked me, as though we were enemies, what?
My sign is compliance
               I'll come into the room
               I'll open the window so that the distant coast 
                                           the houses 
                                           the trees 
                                           keep their bounds
               parting the house of God from that of his people
               parting the house of God from  . . .
You commanded me to draw down the cloud
               to convey it
               to insert its end
within the cavity between the earth 
                                       and the soft white shoes
to be close to the window facing the sea
The thighs were yearning
the hand arranging the hair
was ready to arrange the space
There was that cloth over her body
that was its colour
But you embraced me
and said to me:
You ought to be outside the scene
Afterwards you departed 
  


 
Translated from the Arabic by Marie-Thérèse Abdel-Messih from the author's collection 'Away from Beings', Al-Mada Press, Damascus, 2000
 



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