Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Abdellatif El Ouarari

Urgent mail to Badr Shaker Al Sayab

Good evening, Badr.
Today we inquired about you in school,
We asked the doorman, the stone benches, the small courtyard, and the finches,
We were shaking from fear from the desolation of the place,
So we lifted up our eyes praying for your safety.
On the school benches we didn’t say a word,
But we took advantage of the silence in the art classroom
To draw the ice on our fingertips.
Can you believe that some of us drew you without eyes,
And some borrowed the pigeon feathers between your temples
To catch the sound of vision
In the distance you walked between the river and ashes.
When we returned, we found Wafikah crying,
Her hair was hanging so low through the window bars that it took on the color of grass:
Badr’s mother died; she died at dawn.
We froze on our benches, but a song like this
Appeased our distress.
Our thin bodies extended,
and dissolved completely into the trunks of palm trees.

Along the row of angels glued to the chenashil of Chalabi's daughter,
We grew wings
Out of God’s womb
And on them
In Kufic gold
Shone your eyes that we forgot to paint
On radiant forests.

At sunset,
We would listen,
For as long as suffering lasted,
To the songs of your illustrious boat
Ascending the grass inside the window dream.

بريد عاجل إلى بدر شاكر السياب

بريد عاجل إلى بدر شاكر السياب

مساء الخير، يا بَدْر.
اليوم سألنا عنك في المدرسة،
سألنا البوّاب والدِّكَك والحوش الصغير والحساسين،
وكنّا نرتجف مذعورين من وحشة المكان،
فرفعنا أعيننا إلى السماء لئلّا يصيبك سوء.
على مقاعد الدرس لم ننبس بشيء،
لكن استغللنا الصمت في حِصّة الرسم
لنفصح عن الجليد الذي في أناملنا.
هل تصدق أنّ بعضنا رسمك بلا عينين،
والآخر استعار ريش الحمام بين صُدْغيك الناتئين
حتى يتسقّط عزيف الرؤيا
من المسافة التي استغرقت قدميْكَ بين النهر والرماد.
حين عودتنا، وجدنا وفيقةَ تبكي،
وقد استطال شعرها من الشبّاك حتى صار لَوْنًا من النبات:
أمُّ بدر ماتت؛ ماتت في الفجر.
تجمّدنا في مكاننا، لأنّ غناءً مثل هذا
نَفّس عن حجرنا الكظيم.
استطالت أجسادنا النحيفة،
ثُمّ ذابت في جُذوع النّخْل.
طوال صفّ الملائكة الذي لاصقَ شناشيل ابنة الجلبي،
نبتتْ لنا
من رَحِم اللّه
أجْنحةٌ
عليها بالذهبِ الكوفيِّ
عيونُكَ التي نسينا أن نرسمها
على بريق الغابات.
عند الغروب،
كُنّا نصيخ،
كُلّما استطالَ البلاء،
إلى أغاني قارَبِك المفخور
يَصْعد النّباتُ الذي في حُلْم الشبّاك.
Close

Urgent mail to Badr Shaker Al Sayab

Good evening, Badr.
Today we inquired about you in school,
We asked the doorman, the stone benches, the small courtyard, and the finches,
We were shaking from fear from the desolation of the place,
So we lifted up our eyes praying for your safety.
On the school benches we didn’t say a word,
But we took advantage of the silence in the art classroom
To draw the ice on our fingertips.
Can you believe that some of us drew you without eyes,
And some borrowed the pigeon feathers between your temples
To catch the sound of vision
In the distance you walked between the river and ashes.
When we returned, we found Wafikah crying,
Her hair was hanging so low through the window bars that it took on the color of grass:
Badr’s mother died; she died at dawn.
We froze on our benches, but a song like this
Appeased our distress.
Our thin bodies extended,
and dissolved completely into the trunks of palm trees.

Along the row of angels glued to the chenashil of Chalabi's daughter,
We grew wings
Out of God’s womb
And on them
In Kufic gold
Shone your eyes that we forgot to paint
On radiant forests.

At sunset,
We would listen,
For as long as suffering lasted,
To the songs of your illustrious boat
Ascending the grass inside the window dream.

Urgent mail to Badr Shaker Al Sayab

Good evening, Badr.
Today we inquired about you in school,
We asked the doorman, the stone benches, the small courtyard, and the finches,
We were shaking from fear from the desolation of the place,
So we lifted up our eyes praying for your safety.
On the school benches we didn’t say a word,
But we took advantage of the silence in the art classroom
To draw the ice on our fingertips.
Can you believe that some of us drew you without eyes,
And some borrowed the pigeon feathers between your temples
To catch the sound of vision
In the distance you walked between the river and ashes.
When we returned, we found Wafikah crying,
Her hair was hanging so low through the window bars that it took on the color of grass:
Badr’s mother died; she died at dawn.
We froze on our benches, but a song like this
Appeased our distress.
Our thin bodies extended,
and dissolved completely into the trunks of palm trees.

Along the row of angels glued to the chenashil of Chalabi's daughter,
We grew wings
Out of God’s womb
And on them
In Kufic gold
Shone your eyes that we forgot to paint
On radiant forests.

At sunset,
We would listen,
For as long as suffering lasted,
To the songs of your illustrious boat
Ascending the grass inside the window dream.
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