Nazik al-Malaika

Nazik al-MalaikaShe left, no cheek turned pale, no lip trembled.
The doors did not hear the story of her death.
No window curtain overflew with sorrow and gloom
to follow the tomb until it disappeared
the news tumbled down the avenue its echo not finding a shelter
so it stayed forgotten in some hole, its depression the moon lamenting.

The night surrendered itself, without worry, to the morning
The light brought the voice of the milk girl, and the fasting
with the moaning of a starved cat of which nothing remained save bones
the fussing of salesmen, and the struggle of life
kids threw stones at one another in the middle of the road
while dirty water flodded the avenue, and the wind
toyd with the gates at roof tops, alone
in a state of semi-oblivion.




"Here am I between the jaws of death
As a heart still throbbing with the love of life
As a couples of eyes athirst
For the enjoyment of the universe;
Making advances to the charms of the evening,
I am still a bud, on the twig of fortune,
Whose dreams and hopes are fresh and new.
It is a shame, O death, that thou shouldst
Bury my youth anon in the world of dead


And I, O life, what fate is meted out for me?
Am I going to be a word devoid of meaning?
Will the nights carry me away
And cast the gloom of oblivion over me?
In the morrow, fortune will extinguish my lamps.
And death will squander the echoes of my tunes,
Then I shall become, amongst other ghosts, a ghost myself
And shall be erased from mortal existence.
Oh, no, I do not want that.
Would fortune have mercy on my tears.
Misery and sadness
Let there be a lasting echo of my melodious, song
Ringing in the hearing of the coming years,
Song ringing in the hearing of the coming years,
nay even centuries
O mercy! do not let my flowing tears
Be an early elegy on my youth.


How did our days pass - how did they?
Between the jaws of eagerness and grief!
Your heart and mine were full of love and anxiety
But we took refuge under the wing of secrecy.
Whenever my eyes speak to you of my love
I punish them by depriving them of you.
O my poet, how did we keep it secret?
Yet of old, no two lovers ever disobeyed Cupid.
O my song, when shall my tunes reach thee,
So that thou wilt listen to the joys of my love?
Why do I spend my days suppressing my eagerness,
When my heart is overflowing with emotions?
Always we meet and always I ignore you, perplexed,
while my sad heart is possessed of the anxiety of the lover!
It is pride possessing the soul
That makes a love appear indifferent


Is then then what they call life?
As lines we continue drawing over the water,
As echoes of a cruel song which does not touch the lips.
Is this then the essence of existence?
Wild scattered nights with no return
and the traces of our feet on the road of the deaf ears of time are gone!
For the storm's hand wipes them kindlessly
and surrenders them to nothingness


Veiled Utopia.
A haven of magic, we were told
It was.
Made of nectar and twilight roses,
Of tenderness and gold.
In it, they said, was
The panacea for the wounds of man.
We wanted it, but didn't get it.
Back to our hopes, miserable and unfulfilled.
Where is this land?
Are we to see it or
is it to stay enveloped, unattainable
Agitating inside us only
A numbed yearning?
A prayer
Within closed lips?
The millions are
A torrent of desire,
Burning desire,
And a dream of flame.
Open the gates for thousands
of exhausted victims are screaming.


They spoke of 'life';
It is the color of a corpse's eye
It is the echoing steps of a stealthy killer:
Its curving days
a poisoned coat diffusing death.
Its dreams the humour of a demon
with paralyzing eyes, death - hiding lips.


Where shall I go?
I'm weary of the ways,
I'm bored with the meadows
And with the persistent, hidden enemy
Following my footsteps.
Where can I escape?
The trails and roads that carry
Songs to every strange horizon,
The paths of life,
The corridors in night's total darkness,
The corners of the bare days...
I've wandered along them all,
With my relentless enemy behind me,
Keeping a steady pace, or sitting firmly
Like the mountains of snow
In the far north.


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