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Odes of a Village Shrouded in Fog

Bahaa Iaali Translated to English by Shurouk Hammoud
01 -

Because the dust
I forgot to drop it
on house's cement bench,

because it was just dust,
Time was enough to burn my faith in stones.

02 -

My twentieth years
with all their smashed dreams,
After her, I was looking for the traces of my feet
next to her footprints
I didn't remember that they got away
What I found was the distance left by bullets intentionally
Until this day;

Everything we did during that summer
was that we thought the sun was only a horizon.


O stranger!

Step awhile into the lounge of my country house which was also my bedroom,
come in it peacefully, holding a cloth and a hose. Clean the windows and the walls gently so that the paint does not wear off:

You will find me there
silence came to me while going out
and it had my shape.


O stranger!

"Take the wisdom from the mouth of clouds"
but don't be a smoke

Take the joy from the mouths of children
but don't grow old;

Take the light from the reflection of the mirror
but don't burn the grass!

Take death from the rifle's magazine
but don't fire a bullet!


Take life from all your memory
but don't come back to it,
unless you are barefoot.


I return a little child
for the first time after the falling of dust.
I return back to the day on which I was crying like a crocodile after devouring a zebra:

The dead are many inside me
Maybe I became a mobile ceremony
I can no longer accommodate a funeral.


Over there,
at the bottom of the gate
there is something which is similar to Sumerian inscriptions
there, where I seized my mother's sleep to write on the cement which had not dried out yet:
I + you = forever;

I was not lying on that day, my friend!
In alienation
inscriptions cannot be obliterated,
each dear, leaves an inscription behind
in order to rest.


In my deserted room,
I left an old photo of me,
today when I cam back to it,
I found out that my body was nothing but a picture of a fire that walks slowly
towards the air,
shakes hands with its neighbors again without remembering that there,
time recreates me with two bodies,
a body hat walks in the memory
and another that smiles at the rooster' cock
behind the windows of the room.


Everything on this cement bench
is nothing but more alienation,
more dust,
more smoke,
me, who did not find the child he was,
me, the one who did not leave the house.


A rose in the corner of desolation
whose look is a disappointment for all that surrounds it.
It has the fragrance of sleep for all that surround it
in the mirror of this universe,
it tries to cry sometimes,
it remembers a tree that was fired from the earth core to reach. God,
and I see it wearing a mirror's smile,
a mirror that light stopped in front of. 10-

In the morning,
the birds that did not sing have increased
while waiting for the earth cry
because I lost my arm.

In the morning,
the sun tries not to change its clothes.
I see an old man holding his hook,
thinking that the sun had not yet awakened.

In the morning,
everything I remember since a long time
is what Imhotep left for me and for her.

In the morning,
on the driveway to the park
there are corpses of birds
that fell yesterday because of the soldiers' joy.

In the morning,
on this driveway,
Plato found his utopian city in her heart
but he was still unable to enter it
while reviewing his thoughts.


In your eyes,
the star rarely could find its gases to breathe.
Rain rarely could find a way
to go dead through it toward the earth.
It rarely could find real towns
which replace their history with cans of gasoline.


Bukowski told me about a bar
that stands alone on a narrow street.
On that street,
I found a few remains of his many women's tears,
I chose to step on them like stepping on spit.

Tranströmer has been often found
standing on an island of an artificial ice
with an adverb of time.
He was trying to hide the sun's rays
for the days of darkness.


Give me some or all of your grief.
Let it sew shoes the size of my feet
to wear out as I go towards the sun.


Put down all you can say that is "obscure"
laugh, so that the rest will be injured by bullets.
This is how I can mess with what I see of a yellow air which tries to pounce on your head, which is full of silence and tears;

I say: stand up! The path is as light as mine's soil, stand up! So the path would sleep in my memory, then I keep walking.

I play with what I see of the thorns the earth leaves naked.
I say: Stand up
let us fall together in the core of this damned universe
or let us sleep on the bridge
before the dynamite explodes.


When have we changed our destination?

The air is dirty,
the sea is dirty,
the silence is dirty,
the twaddle is dirty,
the gas is expanding in our bodies while laughing like a spotted hyena.

Should I be a spotted hyena
to be able to laugh?


I knew you were a black butterfly
and water thought that it was all about dust.


In your bewilderment,
a complete silence remains
and a few glass shatters
that barely puncture the time
for a beautiful smile to cross through.
In your bewilderment,
I can barely find a place
for my old explosions that wind have not fallen asleep to their sounds.
I barely see the reflection of the war
like a widow's eyes, which are poked by
the bayonets of the soldiers' rifles.


I closed my right eye
trying to erase the other side of things
but in vain.


When I told you all about that happened,
the left part of my room's wall was filled with stains of black blood,
then the paint got melted,
the overweening rain and the air came in to wash away he remnants of the ruin.

I had waited a whole winter for this.
The only thing I saw
was a huge bag that holds my clothes.

I let my clothes tidy their places inside the bag
then burn.


In a cafe
I sit with a ghost
whose eyes are hazy glass,
whose body is a smoke.
Silence is his beautiful dialogue.

Maybe he is just like this,
waiting to take your measures
to speak.


A road with many branches
but I only see you from one of them
where I was going to my youthfulness party.

Sometimes, those branches approach me
and eat me like a French apple
that shines like a mirror
and when I stand up,
timings of the entire universe rest on my shoulders.
The graveyard of time fits in my head,
then I get older.

Only the old people, who watch me from the balcony of the Infirmary,
believed me!
Maybe I looked a lot like them.


I hold my face in my hands,
I try to touch it a little with my fingers
whenever I remember something, a wrinkle disappears
whenever I try to smile
I feel that an old child wants to talk to me.


When I saw you
I didn't smile much,
I smiled a lot afterwards
because I did not smile.

I changed everything in my room.
I hung a new photo of me smiling.
I looked at my old photos and tried to capture some of them
then I lost my memory completely.
I lost all of my past.


Wake up, O water - wake up!
Wake up, stranger, like an oversight while traveling - wake up
step - the air is nothing but two steps
and rain that is followed by a fig which God drops like fragile thorns for its
wreckage to drop, and become a cover for my naked head.
Nudity is my head - so wake up!


Hey you!
That silence which is still there as I leave cannot die.
Your head that is crowded with folk tales,
is eating me slowly, so I fall asleep,
then I change the scene, still I sleep,
then, I come back,
then try to remember what the killed man said while looking at the woods where he lost his brother, I remember as time was spinning me like a pullover, spinning me of threads that were available, regardless of their colors.

Then I'm back as slowly as the internet on a mountain peak.
Then I stand up,
keep silent and
keep silent again
until all forms of death roll from my head.

26- I saw my wolf' sense,
you saw it,
then the desert that looked at the light hooves of our feet,
woke up and knotted a collar of sand around my neck
before the dead water slowly enters my body,
my body which is mottled with the dead.


Here you are.
You consider as a book what is left of your old death.
It sings with bullets under its tongue.

Here you are painting a glass face of my ruin , with my bloody ellipse

Here you come
I grew up when I came but could not find my body.
All I found was wind
that messed up with yesterday and with tomorrow.


Nothing is certain about what the absurd people said regarding the closure of the road between Thrace and the Balkans. Nothing suggests fear in the voice of Jacques Brel while taking his last breath. Dust, debris, polluted air is what I know that waits me there, or on the way to Jacque's voice. However, I am full aware that the musician does not get tired of the weights of lava that fall on and around his head.

My voice arrived, and my body is still waiting
with the taste of apples, it craves a tender dream that walks as sweet as a virgin's walk in my head.

Nothing ever to worry about.
Nothing can talk to the road to be opened by itself,
nothing can keep silent as I walk stained with dust.


The bag only holds Beethoven's ears,
a few tones he didn't hear
and a loaf.

The bag cannot accommodate more than my head
and the tobacco and roses, which over around it.

Let silence be the only road companion,
and you, be the silence!
Let me sleep during the day like night guards
I only dream of a day off,

Let me dream
only to find my dead face.


For me, on a day that came before time,
I have a bare tree,
Leaves as a delicious meal for the wind.
As a pit for the last of the dead,
A bit that could not find any to block it,
as smoke-free cities that surround me,
as manifestations of empty points looking for their delusion,
an echo of the song, "Aranjuez mon amour" while Richard was weeping,
as details of things that only fools would think of.
Like the last concerto, the cellist left as he felt bored,
as things which eat each other like worms.


The forest took me to new stages of death, of life sleeping on its threshold,
an old woodcutter who stalks tree bark,
the woods were another shape of my body.

In it,
I will remember that I am not alone like an abandoned house.
I will remember teh cave I got out of,
after placing its key in the wolf's hand.

I will remember that I was a guitarist there,
In my music, is a sun that is painted starting from a village that is sliding down
slowly like a kid's slide.

Lebanese poet and translator, born in Bebnine, Akkar in 1995. He holds a BA in History and Mythology from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences. He taught as a trainee lecturer at the Lebanese University, before moving to journalism and translation, where he wrote and translated in many newspapers and cultural platforms such as: "Al-Faisal", "Al-Jadeed", "Al-Araby al-Jadeed", "Ultra Sawt" and "Romman Magazine". He also worked as a literary editor at Dar Al-Rafidain Publishing between 2019 and 2020. He worked as a freelance translator, and translated many books of writers into Arabic, most notably Jean Cocteau, Emmanuel Bove and René Bazin.
His Poetic Works: Light is the last bird in the sky (الضوء آخر عصفورٍ في السماء) – New Dalmoun Publishing, Damascus 2017 Concerto for lips lifted by the wind (كونشيرتو لشفاهٍ ترفعها الريح) – Ninawa for Studies and Publishing, Damascus 2019 Songs of a village shrouded in fog – Long Poem (أغنياتٌ لقريةٍ مضبّبة – قصيدة مطوّلة) – Al-Jadeed Magazine, London 2021 Portraits of a face starved of frowns (بورتريهات لوجهٍ يجوّعه التجهّم) – Rawashen Publishing, Dubai 2022

Odes of a Village Shrouded in Fog
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