Muzaffar al-Nawwab

1934 / Baghdad

The Disavowal

My son, when your rib supported mine
you restored it and set it straight
My son, take me to the feast in your arms
Count the white hairs I reaped from your life
My son, blindness has spilled into my eyes
I came with my heart's eye
Crawling on the path you tread
My son, carrying the reed basket
reminds my shoulders of when you played on them
For a year your hands were two flowers on my head
Through you I sang to the joy of a life I'd forgotten
Seeing you brings back pure water to my body
Makes me live again when am dead
The white in your eyes is the milk of my breast
The black the night I spent crying by your cradle
I told your son who's just started playing in his cradle:
Don't fear being an orphan, grandson
He who has no father, the party will be his father
and his home
I told him: Oh son, my son
When you grow older you'll find your father's belt
which never let me down
You will find letters from him that I will hide
Right next to my rib until I die
Proud of the secret I guarded
O pillar of my house, moon of my night
spring of my white hair and the life I have reaped
I came to shake you, my pillar
In case time has weakened a bone in you
Making you vulnerable to meekness or betrayal
Compromising your wound and abandoning it
My son, let the wound gush, let it bleed and pour, my son
My son, a wound that refuses a bandage
Is a rebels' flag fluttering high
My son, I'd rather breastfeed a dog than
have a son throw me the crumb of disavowal
Let mange eat my bones and flesh
Let my eyes die before I see such disgrace
My son, these are days where drought reigns
Days of torment and trial
My son, don't defile our honor
My son, disavowal will forever be foul
Do you know that with each disavowal
Every martyr is exhumed and buried again
Put your hands on my hoary head
Swear by every drop of my pure milk
By my lost eyesight and tell me:
No one will speak ill of me
You are my mother and this is my party
My father's pride that never let me down
Nor will I ever let it down
Tell me: I will never destroy a party
I built with my own hands
560 Total read