Salah Abdel Sabour

(1931-1981 / Egypt)

Winter Song - Poem by Salah Abdel Sabour

The winter tells me I shall die alone
One winter just like this, one winter
The evening tells me I shall die alone
One evening just like this, one evening
That my past years were all in vain
That I live in a naked world.
The winter tells me that my soul
Shivers with the cold
That my heart died last autumn
Faded with the first fading leaves
And dropped with the first drops of rain
That each chilly night
Thrusts it deeper
Into the stone's core
That if summer's warmth comes
To wake it, it will not
Stretch with the roses
Its arms up through the snow.
The winter tells me that my body is sick
And my breathing is briar
Each step a hazard
That I may die between one footfall and the next
In the torrential rush of the city
Die, none knowing me
Die, none weeping for me
Perhaps it will be said among my friends
When they gather:
Here he used to sit but he is gone
As others have gone
God rest his soul!
The winter tells me that what I thought
Was my cure, was really my bane
That this art when it set me trembling
Brought about my downfall
How many years since I got this wound?
But still my head is bloody!
Poetry my ruin, for this
Everything's run to waste
For this, I became a dorp-out
For this, I'm crucified
I hung there, cold, darkness, thunder
Shook me with terror
when I called, there '`as no answer,
I knew that all was lost!
The winter tells me that
To live in winter
We must hoard warmth and memories from summer's heat
But like a wastrel I scattered
At autumn's onset
My harvest, my wheat, all my grain,
This, then is my punishment:
The winter tells me
That one winter just like this
I will die alone
Die alone
One winter.

Translated by Lena Jayyasi and John ileath-Stubis

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Poem Edited: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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