Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Mohamed Al-Harthy

THE ANGEL’S WHISTLING

Who are you reflected in the verse?
Its beginning
or its end
on the flowing page?
And what if, for all the controversy,
you really were its mirror?—Would the holy verse’s mantle
be cast off? Would all hell break loose?
Or would the angel’s whistling
hold hell off
until the star sees itself
reflected on the watery page,
reflected on the sea of words
before the tide brings the verse back?
One could read it
from top to bottom
(and not from right to left)
to prolong reflection’s game . . .
 
But who are you in these mirrors?
Who are you reflected on the page
once the tide’s gone out again?
Its beginning or its end?
Who are you when the words open
their crocodile jaws
to swallow a shining star? . . .
It might shine a few moments,
it might shine forever—but you,
you will not see its reflection
once the tide’s flowed on
to the next verse.

HET FLUITSIGNAAL VAN DE ENGEL

Wie ben jij in de spiegel van de zin? Begin of einde
      weerkaatst op het blad van de vloed . . .
en wat als jij de spiegel was – wordt de bekleding van het vers dan gekeerd?
     breekt dan de hel los?. . .
of zal het fluitsignaal van de engel uitstel geven tot de avondster zich spiegelt
in het water van de woordenzee voordat de vloed terugkeert als een zin
die in de lengte wordt gelezen (niet in de breedte) om het spel van spiegels te verlengen . . .
 
Maar wie ben jij in de spiegelingen op het oppervlak na het einde van de vloed?
Begin of einde – wie ben jij? Als de woordenkrokodil de kaken opent
om een ster te verslinden dan straalt de ster zoals sterren stralen . . .
enkele momenten of een eeuwigheid – maar je zult haar spiegeling niet zien
     als de vloed zich in de zee van een nieuwe zin stort

صافِرةُ المَلاك

من أنتَ في مِرآة الجُملة؟ بدايتها أم نهايتها
     المُنعكسة على صفحة التيار...
وماذا لو جَدلًا كنتَ مِرآتَها - هل سينقلبُ مِفرَشُ الآية؟
     هل ستقومُ القيامةُ؟…
أم ستؤجِّلُها صَافرةُ المَلاكِ حتى ترى نجمةُ الليالي انعكاسَها
على صفحة الماء في بُحيرة الكلمات قبل عودة التيار بشِبهِ جُملةٍ
قد تُقرأُ بالطول (وليس بالعَرض) كي تطول لعبة المرايا...
 
ولكن من أنت في المرايا المنعكسة على الصَّفحة بعد رحيل التيَّار؟
بدايتها أم نهايتها - من أنتَ؟ حين يفتح تمساحُ الكلمات فكَّيهِ
لالتهام نجمةٍ قد تتلألأ كما تلأْلأَ تكرارُ اللامِ وألِفها المَهموزة...
قد تتلألأ لحظاتٍ، قد تتلألأ دَهرًا - لكنك لن ترى انعكاسَها
حين يتدفق التيَّارُ في بُحيرة الجُملة التالية.
Close

THE ANGEL’S WHISTLING

Who are you reflected in the verse?
Its beginning
or its end
on the flowing page?
And what if, for all the controversy,
you really were its mirror?—Would the holy verse’s mantle
be cast off? Would all hell break loose?
Or would the angel’s whistling
hold hell off
until the star sees itself
reflected on the watery page,
reflected on the sea of words
before the tide brings the verse back?
One could read it
from top to bottom
(and not from right to left)
to prolong reflection’s game . . .
 
But who are you in these mirrors?
Who are you reflected on the page
once the tide’s gone out again?
Its beginning or its end?
Who are you when the words open
their crocodile jaws
to swallow a shining star? . . .
It might shine a few moments,
it might shine forever—but you,
you will not see its reflection
once the tide’s flowed on
to the next verse.

THE ANGEL’S WHISTLING

Who are you reflected in the verse?
Its beginning
or its end
on the flowing page?
And what if, for all the controversy,
you really were its mirror?—Would the holy verse’s mantle
be cast off? Would all hell break loose?
Or would the angel’s whistling
hold hell off
until the star sees itself
reflected on the watery page,
reflected on the sea of words
before the tide brings the verse back?
One could read it
from top to bottom
(and not from right to left)
to prolong reflection’s game . . .
 
But who are you in these mirrors?
Who are you reflected on the page
once the tide’s gone out again?
Its beginning or its end?
Who are you when the words open
their crocodile jaws
to swallow a shining star? . . .
It might shine a few moments,
it might shine forever—but you,
you will not see its reflection
once the tide’s flowed on
to the next verse.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère