Kelmat *


 Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen





Whenever I want to drink from the glass

The glass of poison

As Socrates did

I remember you

And I throw the glass away.


Whenever I want to travel throughout the Heaven

As Dante did

Or to have my brother and myself lost

As Joseph’s brothers did

Or to enter the fire

As Abraham did

I remember you

And I stop traveling,


And fire.


All right, then

If you take me back to life.

All right …

But what is the solution

When death, my faithful friend,

Does not stop knocking at my door?

Tell him with the innocence of your heart

Not to come back

Ere we meet

On the peak of letter mountain

Or in exile

Or in legend.


All right, then

For me to resume practicing my role

In the drama of the lost humanity.

A drama that continued from Babylon to Baghdad

To Beirut, Berlin and London

Then surely ended in hell.

All right, then

To resume practicing my role

As your father.

But I can not talk well to you

Since your alphabet is six thousand years old

Nor can I dance well with you

For my white and red blood cells

Have been exhausted by oppression and captivity

Nor can I give you advice

Because you are more mature

Than the queen bee.


That is how things are

I bend before you

Like an emaciated lion

Ruined by years, loneliness and earthquake.

I bend before you

And ask you again

Nay, I beg you as an Indian beggar

To let me drink the glass of poison

And I promise you I will never drink it again,

My daughter!


 * Kelmat is the name of the poet’s daughter. She is ten years old as the poet writes this poem.


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