Ibrahim Nasrallah

1954 / Jordan

Absence

Who loves the winter as you do?
And is fascinated by trees that resist the wind as you do?
And who like you perfects life
With such innocent joy?
God!
If only you were with me now
I have prepared everything
The chestnuts and the fire,
I have pulled back the blinds
And raised my prayer to the gypsy rain
Pleaded that it persist in its discord
And eternal rites
God!
If only you were beside me now!
I have prepared my poems
And reclaimed my hand
From the combat of the street
From the merchants
And the brokers
And the guardsmen,
And a frost that has tried so often
To squeeze you out of my heart
From bullets that have repeatedly aimed
To swallow up the ring of your voice
As you commune with the buds
Or kindle the fire
God! Had you been with me
We would have sung our song now
The one which the wind almost uproots from my voice
Each time I sing it alone

Translation by Ibrahim Muhawi
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