– Abu al-ʿAlaʾ al-Maʿarri. from Shuruh Saqt al-Zand

translated by Jaroslav Stetkevych



Let the cricket slit night’s silence
with the scalpel of its throat
Let nightbirds coo and cuddle
In the swinging Eden of their nests;
But when dawn finally climbs down
Through the leering rafters,
I will be a promise
Eternal like your seasonless sky
   kiriji kiriji papelupe

– Niyi Osundare. from Moonsongs


To describe almond blossoms, the glossary of flowers
doesn’t come to my aid, and neither does the dictionary…
speech will snatch me to the scam of eloquence.
And eloquence wounds meaning then eulogizes the wound,
like a man who dictates to a woman her feelings.
How can almond blossoms radiate in my language
when I’m an echo?
And they are diaphanous like laughing water that sprouts
from the branches out of the sentry dew…

– Mahmoud Darwish. excerpt from To Describe Almond Blossoms

translated by Fady Joudah