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Badr Shakir al-Sayyab

(1926-1964)

The Drowned Temple


Horses nigh and harbours wait the sunset
Masts reflect rosy sunbeams blood alike!
Lanterns glimmer behind shabby tavern widows
The drink makes him as if an idol
Motionless he fears from the bottle…
He eavesdrops to the sound of choppy waves
Coming through the tavern window,
Shivery pop-eyed he talks on whispering…
Old aged man gulps cup after cup
His visage as if dark thicket of jungles
Moon's rays danced over the lake…
They touch kindly the posts of the vacant temple
And passed through its door willingly…
Scattered bushes and jungle seem at last dawn
Light shadows were consumed by the lake water…
Thousand years ago as if he was rooted there
He tried to spit the warm water once and again
When the mouth was opened,
It seems as if crater shivering from the fever…
Boling and fizzing lavas drift the stones.
Erupts throwing its blazes inside the lake.
Scattering out fishes and blood outside the water.
Poisoned foams encircled the water.
Frontside of the fevered temple echoed its eruptive sound.
When the firebrands were extinguished inside the stoves,
The gold appears glimmering…
Pearls and corundum are disclosing column of lights.
And the clouds disclose the stars…
A crocodile rolling over the water then climbed the wall.
In order to guard its permanent treasure against dark and light.
An octopus climbed up the lighthouse to watch the Pope.
An eternal daybreak settled on its crooked eyes …
Despite of night changes sequentially.
Still its eyes mock the time…
Present there no day he was absent…
Why does this mortal human seem snobbish?
Who he adheres one's hopes to unknown future.
Didn't he live for thousand years?
If only he notices the creatures passing the eternal node!

If only he saw the turtles how they crushing the universe!
Caesar warriors alike invaded the world one day…
Their shields prevent the deadly arrows of time…
The survivor one is only who can pass the eternally barriers…
The only one can shatter the point of weakness.
Then he will keep silent after the success.
Lives eternally life forever on the sadly eyes…
Thousand worldly treasures there were drowned…
Treasures can satisfy the hunger of thousand children.
Treasures can cure and root up many diseases…
Treasures can save thousand wrecked people from tyrant…
Treasures if they were well distributed,
They can remove away the phantom of poverty…

Is all this money exists in the world of the slaves?
While they were staying under bonds cannot release.
Cuffed necks suffer the melancholy disease…
The water in the middle of lake as if it hinders the time…
It can reach neither the bottom nor rooms.
The door's lock as if it was painted with unknown talisman.
Sleepless, aware always it is!
No death can limit that circled abundant present…
Night prayer of clergymen as if it is inspiring to the water…
Water floods fluently inside the rooms of temple…
It is obvious that 'Olies' did not return home yet…
And his flapping sail still conflicts the boiling waves…
He calculated the months until he was bored.
Alas! The wrecked man 'Olies'
Bad misfortune controlled on smiling visage of your wife.
Her visage becomes wrinkled as the dried wood…
What do you have to return?
What waits you to return?
You struggle the choppy high waves to return home…
Come in, you don't meet only the blue current…
Subdues the breath where you go…
Nor the bird's beak can scratch its waves…
Even the gentle breeze cannot perfume its waves …

Come in, there is monster waits you and excluding the others…
It fears that his red eye maybe bursts in injustice…
And his raw treasures ask about your flapping sail…
Did injured and moribund agony at Teredos not torment thee?

Alas! To the blood that spotted the walls…
And converted its thirsty dust to mud again…
Still dropped pain as if wounds.
Inside human bowls largely was opened…
Cries toward the sky
What sound that walls and windows resounding it is!
It was done for the sake of adultery of a woman…
And for the purpose of fiery revenge they look for…
The place becomes gory until their moronity was quenched.
Until nowadays, it still harvests…
Cutting heads merciless on awfully style….
As crops were harvested by one scythe
And on the digging holes we see dead corpuses…
Torn bodies and blood still bleeds…
Erupted bowls fling fire covered my country …
Years of starvation and deprivation followed sequentially…
What creature did they throw up?
We have seen the cruel hearts of Tatar…
As wolves, they went down from their dens…
They have kind hearts softer than ragtag and bobtails…
Whom they removed the happiness from children's eyes…
Whom they burned the virgin's nipples with fire…

On the middle of lake or at its edges, what had we feared?
Predacious sharks or crocodiles throw blazes of fire…
The scorpion of the patcher can consume its fragile poison…
And plants on the bodies rosy bloody flowers…
Wounds always flow streams of youthful renewed blood.
Come in to open ways through bhangs by our oars…
And we scatter the stars of darkened night down…
Eyes cannot distinguish between,
Turquoise transparent veil and black streaked pearls garble…

We shall frighten the herder,
We frightened him, until he took away his herds…
Lest the cattle herds drowned, he hurries
Little men who have brave hearts resist forever.
Come in, they call us with their faint drowsy voices…
Smell of death overlaps with assonance of clergymen…
Come in the initiative rein is still in our fist…
Come in to fold its dark before sunshine…
The time of dreaming is gone away…
Fade dreams go away when the gold rings…
Assonant sound as if recitation of clergymen

Gold wanders as if wild animal eats the corpuses…
It drinks the blood of live people
And it steals the food of children…
And their eyes can glimmer again…
And their voice recovers its vigor again…
Destroys all prophecy voices
Oh! Resonance of the bounds it is!
Oh! It is resonance of stopped time…
Shrouds of time touch the hair of children…
And dismantles the kisses of lovers…
It buries into each kiss the taste of odious death…
A resonant tune scrapes the fingers' flesh.
And converts the portions of kidney to mere plates…
Corpuses motionless bodies only the skin remains…
Come in, still the Magi didn't see
We extended our hand toward the glowing star… Come in still Zeus its vinous colour paints the peak of mountain…
And it still sends falcons, yet their eyes sparkling…
They swoop down to snatch the cupbearers…
Who they carries the blond cups and honey…
Come in to visit the goddess of the lake…
Then we carry it to dwell the top of mountain…

Translated by :Mohammad Mahmud Ahmad

Submitted: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 13, 2013

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