Saadi Youssef

(Basra)

Shatt Al-Arab


Dream 1
On nights of torment and sorrow
its waters saturate the pillow
and it comes like the smell of moss
with green steps
to touch my right palm
with a jasmine sprig:
Wake up...
I am the river...
Don't you love me? Don't you want to reach Basra
on the wings of the pillow?
River,
I'm awake, awake.
'On my pillow a drop
that tastes like moss...'
It's Basra.

Dream 2
Skies shade me.
Low skies shade me and the sparrows,
and my grandfather holds my hand,
his face shaded with a red kaffiyeh.
In the distance the waters shine
and my grandfather holds my hand:
Let's go faster before the birds leave.
Let's go faster before tide robs our nets...
On the grass, fish drip from our nets.
In river fog they appear like green ships,
like red ships,
like blue ships
that sailed before the water rose.

Dream 3
On the shores of Kout Al-Zain dawn was tumbling down.
he date palms wore purple plumes
and in my hair there were stars, warmth, and rain.
I was swimming toward the other bank,
swimming to reach Ahwaz.
And in Ahwaz dawn was tumbling down
and the date palms wore purple plumes
and the water in Karoun tasted just like the water
in Basra.

Submitted: Saturday, September 21, 2013
Edited: Saturday, September 21, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Translated by: Khaled Mattawa

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