Theatre

by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi

All these wars
make the world unhomely
make homes rust apart
make you fall asleep, riddled with calamities

All this love
yet loneliness still cuts you to the bone

All this death
just so we can meet -
nothing more?


2
Write
to set the world ablaze
so poetry quickens in your hands
and inflames you with desire

Write, and wipe the slate
Infected by writing
you sweat in agony
from a bedsit
to the street and out into the wild

Write
in full knowledge
of everything that's in your hands
both quill and string at your disposal
Write
certain of what electrifies the body
sure of how to rig the scene


3
This little world beneath you
made of boredom, balsawood and string
jerks between your fingers in a dream
Spirited away
you drink it in like scent

Are you scared of scorpions? Are you scared of blood?
Take refuge in the wings
But beware the spotlights, beware of being fingered

This little world beneath you
is here to give you all the answers
Is it worth the precious link that wrote it -
the cost of these fresh tears?


4
Light stings the page of your face
And it strikes her
as she dusts the faded wardrobe near the bed -
like a dagger, suddenly
it rends the dark
blazing with the whole world's brilliance,
leaves her flushed,
spoored, wet
and flat out in astonishment


5
We latch on to bewilderment, to ink, and to departure
Living in our dreams, unfurling handkerchiefs,
we bring news to the bars of mirror and nausea,
smoke-rings, gossip, tales
From the oneness of white we plumb our ink,
from the oneness of all directions
Tears merge
Surprise arrives
All around you tombstones rise


6
Waiting in front of a door that's behind you,
I watch it open with a rabab
so you can go back to the past with your spotless future,
refilling your boasts with light after they'd rotted through ashore,
restocking the wares of your mighty stories
like a bird refurbishing its nest

Those who went before you
live in a stupor,
their lanterns barging through your door
The flush of dawn
blackened
by the taint of dusk
Your face is familiar,
but what about the face in front of you
faced towards the door behind you?
. . . . . . as you go back to the past with your blameless future


7
The price of war: perpetual loyalty;
eschewing tomfoolery;
feigning naivety

The price of love: ceaseless quarrels
with the fathers of procedures
and the mothers of proficiency

The price of death: eternal life
in the grave of love and the theatre of war
Life at the ends of obedience
Life at the end of the world

The literal translation of this poem was made by Sabry Hafez

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire

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