On The Little God's Death - Poem by Khaled Juma
Beware of the spear. Master of death is behind the mountain, detaining two lovers whom he gave hearts of steel. He sat smacking his lips on the rock at the gateway of Poets and Gods. No one knows where the knights have gone. As if it is another era, unmeant for anyone to grasp. About her eyes, the sculpture at the entrance of the cave speaks of battles fought by the Gods for her morning flower.
In the legend of slaughter, it was said that the Little God had a charm that enticed all women's hearts, but an oracle told him, while he was out hunting hearts off the top of the Mountain of Gods, that a day will come when eyes of a woman would turn him into a horrid human loathed by all women of earth. He would set his divine trap aiming it at the eyes of any woman before she even looked. He was happy with that. And on what seemed like a beautiful Sunday, he was bathing in the sun while his body crawled in the lake's sands. He could not break the prophecy when two eyes passed in front of him. He looked at his reflection in the clear lake water. The prophecy came entirely true. He took shelter in a little cave. He cried and wrote poems to the eyes that turned him into this aberration. Seven days later, he died. Yet, what he wrote remained until a traveler passed there ten thousand centuries later. The ink was still fresh, as if it was the continuation of tears on the cave's walls. The traveler testified all that he saw, and then, he and the cave both vanished.
When I was born, clairvoyants chirruped in my father's ear: this God shall spawn humans. My father did not comprehend the prophecy. Clairvoyants did not either. But I, was given the power of magic. Women were my preys, and my brainchildren.
Never had I believed in urban psychics, but her eyes alone break destinies and carve fates. She passed by. Grief was climbing the trees of her eyelashes. Entrance to her eyes was a space of glamour and night, spreading apples on the sides of her vast roads. Enterers to her eyes perish like dust. How I had thought Gods were infallible to human sins. I had well prepared my feast. I had believed my arms. I had carried my emotion with the flush of my youth. I lavished in love. My father's pleads did not stop me. Nature's green sheet had this lust. Everyone envies the Gods. We, the Little Gods are but paupers tampered with by the wind of their arrogance.
Like a domesticated she-wolf, on the shores of the heart. She carried insanity for sale, which no one bought. As if I filled my chest with the features of this face since the last fortuneteller died with the blade of her prophecy. I shoot myself with my own arrow. I realized that what clairvoyants said and did not comprehend, I did not comprehend either, even after it came true. I no longer had the courage to call myself the Guru of the Defeated. I arranged my heart, my wings and my breaths, but I was overly sarcastic until the sky had none but one star, and a number of torn strings that only a God who became human could play.
I could no longer see my own face.
I survived my writings, and my tears. I raised my temptation to those who were still Gods, whose ability to answer I knew, because I was once as such. They sprinkled pearls on my forehead, when I needed none. They did none but leave their mercy strolling arrogantly at the door, when I was alone outside the elevated window.
What need have I for all these tears that become humans?
What need have I for a soul that tries to exit my lips to be hindered by speech?
What need have I for alleys in my chest, whereat eyes wander,
Without taking time to rest?
What need have I, for me?
You, who is confident in your ability, do heat my day to the light of her eyes, so I can understand my meaning for one last time. Enlighten the spirit for me, so I escape the darkness of the Gods.
My hand did not touch her face.
And she, no longer is - never was, here.
Where are you?
The After Death
"The poem of questions"
Here I am, with no soul
With no answers
Dull as a stone.
It is a sin to think that the answer to death is life.
Thinking the answer to life is in death, is a sin, too.
It is the eyes, the answer.
Thus are the eyes, the questions.
Translated from Arabic by Nida Awine
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