Nizar Qabbani

(1923 - 1998 / Damascus / Syria)

Two African Breasts


Let me find time
to welcome in this love
that comes unbid.
Let me find time
to memorize
this face that rises
out of the trees
of forgetfulness.
Give me the time
to escape this love
that stops my blood.
Let me find time
to recognize your name,
my name,
and the place
where I was born.
Let me find time
to know where I shall die
and how I will revive, as
a bird inside your eyes.
Let me find time
to study the state of winds
and waves, to learn the maps
of bays. . .

Woman, who lodges
inside the future
pepper and pomegranate-seeds,
give me a country
to make me forget all countries,
and give me time
to avoid this Andalusian face,
this Andalusian voice,
this Andalusian death
coming from all directions.
Let me find time to prophesy
the coming of the flood.

Woman, who was inscribed
in books of magic,
before you came
the world was prose.
Now poetry is born.
Give me the time to catch
the colt that runs toward me,
your breast.
The dot over a line.
A bedouin breast, sweet
as cardamom seeds
as coffee brewing over embers,
its form ancient as Damascene brass
as Egyptian temples.

Let me find luck
to pick the fish that swim
under the waters.

Your feet on the carpet
are the shape and stance
of poetry.

Let me find the luck
to know the dividing line
between the certainty
of love and heresy.
Give me the opportunity
to be convinced I have seen
the star, and have been spoken to
by saints.

Woman, whose thighs are like
the desert palm where golden
dates fall from,
your breasts speak seven tongues
and I was made to listen
to them all.
Give me the chance
to avoid this storm,
this sweeping love,
this wintry air, and to be convinced,
to blaspheme, and to enter
the flesh of things.
Give me the chance
to be the one
to walk on water.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 04, 2013

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