Saadi Yousef (Arabic: سعدي يوسف) (born 1934 near Basra, Iraq) is an Iraqi author, poet, journalist, publisher, and political activist. He has published thirty volumes of poetry and seven books of prose.
Saadi Yousef studied Arabic literature in Baghdad. He was influenced by the free verse of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Shathel Taqa and Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati and was also involved in politics from an early age, leaving the country permanently in 1979 after Saddam Hussein's rise to power. At the time his work was heavily influenced by his socialist and anti-imperialist sympathies but has since also taken a more introspective, lyrical turn. He has also translated many well-known ... more »
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Saadi Youssef Poems
Thank You Imru Ul-Qais
At last in a half-furnished room near Nicosia you came to deliver peace on your lips. Is it only now, after five thousand miles, that you've found the words?
God save America My home sweet home! The French general who raised his tricolour over Nagrat al-Salman where I was a prisoner thirty years ago . . .
The Bird's Last Flight
When I enter the earth's nest Contented And glad, My wings resting,
We did not name it so that it would become a city. We came to it thirsty starved limping on blazing sands,
How will I drag my feet to her now? In which land will I see her and on which street of what city should I ask about her?
A Roman Colony
A Roman Colony We were Greeks Our dwellings on the borders Of the Arabian Desert;
His house was exposed to dust from the street. His garden, blooming with red carnations, was open to dogs and strange insects,
Winds that do not blow in the evening, and winds that do not blow at dawn have burdened me with a book of boughs. I see my cry in the silence.
The Jazz Corner
A moment after midnight every night jazz begins to soak the Jazz Corner like new wine
This Iraq will reach the ends of the graveyard. It will bury its sons in open country generation after generation, and it will forgive its despot . . . .
The house plant Bends under the heavy air. On the table Among a full ashtray and a tobacco bag
The Tormented of Heaven
Naked We are on our way to Allah for shrouds we have only our blood; for camphor, the eyeteeth of wolfish dogs.
That was not a country. But it had all it needed To imprint its image on us, We the children of impossible clay.
Elsinore, Hamlet's Castle
The trench with green water is criss-crossed by twigs and birds, by the shoes of tourists and the ghosts of shipwrecked sailors . . .
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Edgar Allan Poe
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Thank You Imru Ul-Qais
At last in a half-furnished room near Nicosia
you came to deliver peace on your lips.
Is it only now, after five thousand miles,
that you've found the words?
After moss filled your home
and the arrows were scattered in the sea.
Peace to a grove of figs.
Peace to this darkness.
Peace to a shell that hid its blood in wet sleep.
Peace to this ruin.
Like a spring between slim hands
slowly slipping off my covers
the way a farmer peels an apricot's soft stubble,
are you shining like silver while the world is lead?
All that surrounds me are shores.