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Abd al Wahhab Al-Bayati

(1926–1999 / Baghdad)

The Book Of Poverty And Revolution


From the depth I call out to you,
With my tongue dried up, and
By butterflies scorched over your mouth.
Is this snow from the coldness of your nights?
Is this poverty from the generosity of your hands,
With its shadow racing mine at the gate of night,
Crouching hungry and naked in the field,
Pursuing me to the river?
Is this silent stone from my tomb?
Is this time, crucified in the puplic square, from my life?
IS this you, o my time,
Your face scratched in the mirror,
Your conscience dead under the feet of whores?
And your poor people have sold you
To the dead among the living.
Who then shall sell to the dead?
Who shall shatter the silence?
Who among us
IS the hero of our time to repeat what we have said?
And who will whisper to the wind
The hint that we are still alive?
Is this dead moon a man,
On the mast of dawn, on a garden-wall?
Do you rob me?
Do you leave me?
Without a homeland and a shroud?
Once, alas, we were small and there was . . .
Would that poverty were a man,
Then I would kill him and drink his blood!
Would that poverty were a man!
I called out to the departing ships,
To the migrating swan,
To a night, rainy despite the stars,
To autumn leaves, to eyes,
To all that was and shall be,
To the fire, to branches,
To the deserted street,
To the drops of rain, to the bridges,
To the shattered star,
To the hoary memories,
To all the hours in the darkened houses,
To the word,
To the artist's brush,
To the shade and color,
To the sea and the pilot
A called out ,
''let us burn,
So that sparks will fly from us,
And illumine the rebels' cry,
And awaken the rooster that is dead on the wall.''

Submitted: Thursday, May 08, 2014

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