Treasure Island

Nizar Qabbani

(1923 - 1998 / Damascus / Syria)

A Letter From A Stupid Woman


(A Letter to a Man)

(1)

My dear Master,
This is a letter from a stupid woman
Has a stupid woman before me, written to you?
My name? Lets put names aside
Rania, or Zaynab
or Hind or Hayfa
The silliest thing we carry, my Master - are names

(2)

My Master:
I am frightened to tell you my thoughts
I am frightened - if I did -
that the heavens would burn
For your East, my dear Master,
confiscate blue letters
confiscate dreams from the treasure chests of women
Practices suppression, upon the emotions of women
It uses knives…
and cleavers…
to speak to women
and butchers spring and passions
and black plaits
And your East, dear Master,
Manufactures the delicate crown of the East
from the skulls of women

(3)

Don't criticize me, Master
If my writing is poor
For I write and the sword is behind my door
And beyond the room is the sound of wind and howling dogs
My master!
'Antar al Abys is behind my door!
He will butcher me
If he saw my letter
He will cut my head off
If I spoke of my torture
He will cut my head off
If he saw the sheerness of my clothes
For your East, my dear Master,
Surrounds women with spears
And your East, my dear Master
elects the men to become Prophets,
and buries the women in the dust.

(4)

Don't become annoyed!
My dear Master, from these lines
Don't become annoyed!
If I smash the complaints blocked for centuries
If I unsealed my consciousness
If I ran away…
From the domes of the Harem in the castles
If I rebelled, against my death…
against my grave, against my roots…
and the giant slaughter house….

Don't become annoyed, my dear Master,
If I revealed to you my feelings
For the Eastern man
Is not concerned with poetry or feelings
The Eastern man - and forgive my insolence - does not understand women
but over the sheets.

(5)

I am sorry my master -If I have insolently attacked the kingdom of Men
for the great literature of course -
is the literature of men
And love has always been
the allotment of men…
And sex has always been
a drug sold to men

A senile fairytale, the freedom of women in our countries
For there is no freedom
Other than, the freedom of men…

My Master
Say all you wish of me. It does not matter to me:
Shallow.. Stupid.. Crazy.. Simple minded.
It does not concern me anymore..
For whoever writes about her concerns…
in the logic of Men is called
a stupid woman
and didn't I tell you in the beginning
that I am a stupid woman?

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010

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