for Edward W. Said
In Jerusalem a dead phone’s dialed by exiles
You learn your strange fate: you were exiled by exiles
You open the heart to list unborn galaxies
Don’t shut that folder when Earth is filed by exiles.
Before night passes over the wheat of Egypt,
let stones be leavened, the bread torn wild by exiles
Crucified Mansoor was alone with the Alone:
God’s loneliness-just his-compiled by exiles
By the Hudson lies Kashmir, brought from Palestine-
It shawls the piano, Bach beguiled by exiles.
Tell me who’s tonight the Physician of Sick Pearls?
Only you as you sit, Desert child, by exiles
Match Majnoon (he kneels to pray on a wine-stained rug)
or prayer will be nothing, distempered mild by exiles
“Even things that are true can be proved” Even they?
Swear not by Art but, dear Oscar Wilde, by exiles
Don’t weep, we’ll drown out the Calls to Prayer, O Saqi-
I’ll raise my glass before wine is defiled by exiles
Was -after the last sky- this the fashion of fire:
autumn’s mist pressed to ashes styled by exiles?
If my enemy’s alone and his arms are empty,
give him my heart silk-wrapped like a child by exiles
Will you, beloved stranger, ever witness Shahid
two destinies at last reconciled by exiles?
– Agha Shahid Ali. By exiles