In Damascus – في دمشق

„More than three years have passed since the idea inception up to this moment. This project was my companion during my staying abroad, it was like a friend and an enemy at the same time, sometimes I spend hours working on it, and sometimes I leave it for months.“ (Waref Abu Quba)

In Damascus
I see my entire language
On a grain of wheat, written by a woman’s needle
Revised by the Mesopotamian partridge.

In Damascus
The sky walks on the ancient streets
Barefoot, barefoot
So what need does the poet have for inspiration, metre and rhyme?

In Damascus
The stranger sleeps in his shadow
Standing like a minaret in the bed of eternity
Not longing for anyone or any place.

In Damascus
The present tense continues its Umayyad works
And we walk toward our tomorrow, confident of the sun in our past
We and eternity are the residents of this land.

In Damascus
Dialogues  between the violin and the oud revolve around
Existentialism and the endings
Whoever kills her passing lover, attains the Lote Tree of heaven.

In Damascus
Yousef tears apart his ribs with a flute for no reason other than that his heart was not with him.

Speech returns to its origins – water
Poetry is not poetry, and prose is not prose
And you say I will not leave you
So take me to you and take me with you.

In Damascus
A gazelle sleeps beside a woman in a bed of dew
And takes off her dress to cover Barada with it.

In Damascus
A bird picks at what remains of wheat in my hand
And leaves me a single grain to show me my tomorrow, tomorrow.

In Damascus
The jasmine flirts with me and does not stray
Following in my path
So the garden becomes jealous and does not approach the blood of night in my moon.

In Damascus
I spend the evening in lighthearted conversation with my trivial dream and laugh at the almond blossom
Be realistic, so that I may blossom again around the water of her name
Be realistic, so that I may pass through her dream.

In Damascus
I introduce myself to her
Here under two almond eyes we fly together as twins
And postpone our shared past.

In Damascus
Speech softens and I hear the sound of blood in the flashes of marble
Wrest me away from my son, the female prisoner says to me
Or turn to stone with me.

In Damascus
I count my ribs and return my heart to its amble
Perhaps the one that admitted me to her shadow killed me
And I did not notice.

In Damascus
The stranger returns her howdah to the caravan
I will not return to my tent, I will not hang my guitar
After this evening on the family fig tree.

In Damascus
Poems are translucent
Neither silver nor gold
They are what they echo says in order to echo.

In Damascus
The cloud dries up in the afternoon, then digs a well
For the summer of lovers at the foot of Mount Qasioun
And the flute completes its habits
Longing for the present
And cries in vain.

In Damascus
I write in a woman’s journal
All that is in you of Narcissus desires you
And no fence around you protects you from your night’s excess appeal.

In Damascus
I see how the Damascus night diminishes
Slowly, slowly
And how our goddesses increase, one by one.

In Damascus
The traveler sings silently to himself and I return from Syria
Neither dead, nor alive
But as clouds easing the butterfly’s burden
From my fugitive soul.

(Mahmoud Darwish)

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