In the Company of Michelangelo

by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi


The kings who have gone
left us the remains of their forgettable names —like Aleece or Kush

They left us their peculiar crowns
shards of skeletons
unpronounceable words
and eulogies graven in stone

Yet I left you radiant,
resplendent, wherever your throne sets downLive blood in mortal veins -
truly you are unforgettable


You accompany me
to the gates of ancient Rome
reaching the ends of perfection
as you envisage grace threading each tender aperture
as you envisage the faultless line, and the perfect circle

Let us be brothers in stone
hand in hand
fingers entwined —
and then,
on the threshold of a bar
we clink our glasses
as you add the last touch
to a face already dreaming its history


Which of us is the key?
Your door or mine?


Silence is bliss
Life is bliss
Creation is bliss

Even though his chair is empty
even though he is gone
darkness is ablaze
with the presence of his embrace

What is the key?

London 30th March, 2006

The literal translation of this poem was made by Sabry Hafez

The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire


  1. November 3rd, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Bodrogligeti, András says:

    We of course should see the original to judge the premise of this statement! A translation always loses something to the detriment of the original and always gains something for the benefit of the reader who is not a native speaker.

  2. June 20th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    snono says:

    it has developed into a phenomenon, the remark that only the English translation makes sense, saying that with the reference that i'm a native speaker of Arabic and a compatriot to the poet.