Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Norddine Zouitni

You are seen by the dead

There was once a country
that disappeared,
no one knows why,
where every day was so much the same
that crowds seethed like a fever
when the world got to hear the howling of a wolf named
Allen Ginsberg.

You were wrong, my heart!
They’ve all gone
leaving us alone in a bomb shelter
that’s sinking inch by inch into the earth
as a voice intones ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.

If I am forced to sleep
who will save me from the border guards
waiting to give chase as soon as I close my eyes?
And who would tell those watching the sea
about the desert that lies waiting
and that the eyes of the drowned
shine at the bottom of a cup
that was once a woman’s heart
smashed to pieces?

Where is the mother whose embrace
can warm you when you have been so frozen cold?
The pain of looking into a face
that cannot see you.

Only the sky has room for all this craziness.
Only the dead can see you.

موتى يرونك

موتى يرونك

كانت بلاد،
واختفت،
ولا أحد يعرف السبب،
كانت أيام تتشابه
وناس يتكدسون كالحُمّى
عندما العالم كله أنصت ذلك المساء
وسمع عواء ذئب اسمه
آلنغنسبرغ . . .

أخطأتَ أيها الفؤاد
الكل غادَرَ
ولم يعد سوانا داخل هذا المخبأ
الذي يغوص شيئا فشيئا في الأرض،
وقائل: "دعوا الموتى يدفنون موتاهم"

هَبْفقدتُ طعم النوم
فمن ينقذني من شرطة حدود
يتأهبون لمطاردتي كلما أغمضت جفنَيَّ
ومن يخبر الذاهبين إلى البحر
أن صحراء قاتلة تنتظرهم
وأن عيون الغرقى تلمع في قاع
الكأس
الذي كان يوما ما قلب امرأة
تطاير شظايا.

أي حضن رؤوم يتسع لك
بكل هذا الصقيع الذي ينخرك؟
أي لوعة وأنت تطل
على وجه لا يستطيع أن يراك؟

السماء وحدها تتسع لكل هذا العبث،
والموتى وحدهم يرونك!
Close

You are seen by the dead

There was once a country
that disappeared,
no one knows why,
where every day was so much the same
that crowds seethed like a fever
when the world got to hear the howling of a wolf named
Allen Ginsberg.

You were wrong, my heart!
They’ve all gone
leaving us alone in a bomb shelter
that’s sinking inch by inch into the earth
as a voice intones ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.

If I am forced to sleep
who will save me from the border guards
waiting to give chase as soon as I close my eyes?
And who would tell those watching the sea
about the desert that lies waiting
and that the eyes of the drowned
shine at the bottom of a cup
that was once a woman’s heart
smashed to pieces?

Where is the mother whose embrace
can warm you when you have been so frozen cold?
The pain of looking into a face
that cannot see you.

Only the sky has room for all this craziness.
Only the dead can see you.

You are seen by the dead

There was once a country
that disappeared,
no one knows why,
where every day was so much the same
that crowds seethed like a fever
when the world got to hear the howling of a wolf named
Allen Ginsberg.

You were wrong, my heart!
They’ve all gone
leaving us alone in a bomb shelter
that’s sinking inch by inch into the earth
as a voice intones ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.

If I am forced to sleep
who will save me from the border guards
waiting to give chase as soon as I close my eyes?
And who would tell those watching the sea
about the desert that lies waiting
and that the eyes of the drowned
shine at the bottom of a cup
that was once a woman’s heart
smashed to pieces?

Where is the mother whose embrace
can warm you when you have been so frozen cold?
The pain of looking into a face
that cannot see you.

Only the sky has room for all this craziness.
Only the dead can see you.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère