Khaled Najar

Khaled Najar

And I return to the old house from travel.
Things regain their old taste
and their sad silence.
At night I will walk by my loved one's windows
the way autumn passes by
because the wind still brings back the bitterness
of old days
and takes from the sand
all that we said
the day you first saw me.
Poem 2

Like the sun under water
your face,
like time
a crucifix in my night.
In the memory of days,
lakes from a star
bring the wind back to my house
and give me 
our childhood that died
the way butterflies die
in a summer without shores.

Poem 3

When I was young
I walked to the gates of the South
listening to the gushing of springs at night.
When I was young and innocent
like the shells of dreams,
the butterflies on the roof were my stars
and the shadows of horse carts
were my angels.


They stole my childhood from me
and my madness.
They stole my winds
from the wooden crates
where I kept my clothes.
And from the gates of the South
they stole the croaking of my frogs
and my mother's mirrors.

Stone Castle

In the windows of sand
in death
in a chalk-drawn circle
in castle walls
your liquid name, beloved,
was an old journey,
            a song
that comes with the wind to my house in winter.
It was the lantern of the orchards
long dimmed by the tide.
It returned
as a moon above the banks of death
and in its waning reflected
lights from the islands.
They remain at the bottom of the river
to celebrate a feast for my sorrow by the walls
of Mary Magdalene's home.
It was my face
and my stone castle.

KHALED NAJAR was born in Tunis in 1949 and has travelled to many countries.  He has published poems since the late 1960s.  He is a Lorcian poet, known as one of Tunisia's most lyrical of poets, but he shuns publication and has published only one volume of poetry with Riyad el-Rayyes, London 1990.

Translated by Khaled Mattawa from the author's collection Windows of Sand.  Reprinted from Banipal No1

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