Grim December stepped up to me
As it wrapped the somber evening with snow
On the far end of the cosmos
The moon slithered its weary way
Towards the cave of twilight
The winter wind undressed the universe,
Divesting it of its life-givingness.

Flower, you miracle flower
How did you escape the captivity of snow,
The jurisdiction of frost?
How did you acquire loveliness,
Such florescence, such imposing brilliance?
You spread on my universe
Then spring’s happy mien,
You altered the sacramental sequence of seasons
And touched the miraculous, the startling, the unrealizable
With your fingertips.

You quenched my thirst when you raised to my lips
A wine glass filled with a centuries-old red intoxication,
You conferred on me the splendor, the exultation,
The opulence of the rainbow’s broad smile
You taught me how the unattainable begets a reality
How this brittle life metamorphoses itself
Into a new engendering, a new familiarity.

Flower, mistress of all,
You are a jar of perfume that scents my heart’s murals
You are the queen of my heart
And life’s most priceless bequest.

– Fadwa Tuqan. The December Flower

translated by Kamal Abdel-Malek