No Respite - Poem by Hayat Saif
You didn't give him any respite. The warrior's shield
Has been robbed. You didn't give him
With your fearless hand, a rifle, a Sten-gun
Or some ethereal grief,
Or seeds of golden crops for his granary, or green fields.
He was therefore never rich in harvests, and now
He is a questor, lonely and lost.
Suddenly the bright watchful day reveals itself,
Streaming fountains of yellow and green –
Dart towards the horizon
Like a bull with uplifted tail and steaming nose
As if the secret amulet, darkly kept, is shaken wild
You've taught this for a long while that
When night comes
The spent day's sins are washed away
The nerves reverberate with an animated song
His familiar lifeline edges near and stops,
Although his address is lost in cataclysmic darkness—
Far from the chaotic clash of values:
He doesn't have rich luxury stashed in his safe
Or a famous magic lamp;
Even his woman insults him
Because he doesn't know which trees
Produce the silver fruits.
He is always in danger, and always around him dance
Colorful words, rippling waves
And the wings of birds.
In his brain the unforgiving insects are raised
He threatens the city as he walks
The neighborhood thugs are charmed when he talks
He is an unmixed clown whose eyes reflect the stars;
His windpipe has burst open and
In his earnest bone marrow
Diseases roam freely; darkness spreads it plumage
In the ancient squares and corridors
Such an untouchable being too, is nurtured on your soil
Blooming in animated, meaningless words,
Even such a youth grows too, in branches and foliage
A vibrant poster unfolds
In the dreamy moonlight flooded sky,
In the gray waters of the lake shines the evening star
Fountains of words empty into the flood.
The soft-hearted arum plant grow,
The wet heart of snails thrive,
The soft shoots of Gewa and
The flowery mass of Kewra prosper.
Unknown dancing girls dance on
Like trembling Shapla
Or lotus stem, while love, affection and
The blue-smelling river
Now I hear the booming sounds of machines
The echoes rising from the ribcage and the veins,
Yet, even in this darkness, you'll give him no respite
Rather, you would turn on with the electric-megawatt heat
An unknowable light of immense power.
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