(trans. Subhi Hadidi and Nathalie Handal)
If only God were a violet
opening wide in a glass of water near the bed.
If only God were the evening prayer
wiping the day off our foreheads.
If only He were a tear
that we can repent by day.
If only God were a sin
that we could adore.
If only God were a rose that withers every evening
so that we can change it.
from Banipal magazine
By Lina Tibi
To my grandfather
Your long sleep will postpone
the morning coffee,
so we’ll not be able to contemplate your blue eyes
As you sleep and wake fitfully
your bed will remain warm
but your saliva will not wet the pillow.
We’ll hear many stories about you,
we who stayed up many evenings
to hear your tales of demons, cats and grandmothers.
The days will not change us much
because your tenderness will stay with each of us,
we who often ate the products of your hands’ hard work
and whom you often distracted with flowers and basil on our balcony,
we who loved you.
Tomorrow in time
the morning will come
Everybody will be busy
but you will still sleep
no one will wake you
as those passing
will not notice your nimble eyes
as they shed their tears,
and you’ll not wipe your tears away
with your fingers wet from their ablution
If it were in my power …
If only it were in my power to fly without wings
and without the chaos that ruffles feathers
If it were in my power
to soar in the sky like a lonely rainbow
for one night
by the sunset.
IF I DIE
If I die who will extend greetings to me
who will wipe burdens from my forehead
who will close my eyes
if I die who will whisper his prayers in my ear
who will lay my head on its pillow
if I die who will console my mother
and then secretly weep
if I die
if I die quickly
who will remove my heart from yours?
It’s as if you leave your heart sleeping for a while
as if you snatch it away from its sleep
as if it sleeps to dream
dreams to sleep
as if you wake it up with soft knocks
as if you wipe the dust off it
as if you hug it
It’s as if it surrenders to you
as if it becomes yourself
and so you do become yourself
as if it becomes part of you
after it used to sit on an opposite sofa
It’s as if you wave to it
and so it responds with a laugh
as if you raise your voice
until it resembles an echo
It’s as if it rises above you
and pulls you
to fly alone in a sky
with seven colours of blue