Three poems by Ahmed Nada
Three unpublished poems by Egyptian poet Ahmed Nada who has one collection to date, بعد ذهابهم بقليل (Kalema, 2012) [A Little After They Left].
This night is freighted with miracles:
The doorstep, studded with thousands of footfalls,
The lamp, trimming its share of the light,
The bed, unsheathed against a future desire,
The books, cast down in expectant terror;
Music paves the street from behind a window that sighs,
The air is haunted with passers-by
—over there a body, bundled up and flaring with seclusion—
Who will point his darling girl to where the heart lies
That he might shape his own miracle?
You’re sure you don’t know the streets as you should
All you’ve learnt is how to walk with a crime in your pocket, throw a salutation to the first cop that passes
Then search for a darkened street
In which you spark what’s left of the memory for which people envy you.
Hermes or Yehya will be with you.
The simplest principles of physiognomy did not serve you
Scrutinizing those who sprouted from the asphalt:
Multitudinous are they, inflexibly set
And know nothing of pain’s locales
Nor the rigours of lamenting the self;
Them—the ones who follow the evening news
And watch the late flick—
They’re your coffin knit from life as usual.
You let down your guard even as their rot
Robbed you of the ability to breathe:
It is the downfall!
You walk down streets all alike,
Through a time loosed from its hobble,
Your companions skeletons, clowns, a book you haven’t read
Giving yourself hope for a torture less than this,
Cries creeping from a distant place
You called Yourself,
As though you played some quester after truth.
You are here
Where Hell is fathomless.
The human machine churns out its demons
And you are terrified.
Once and again
I lay on my back
And looked at a time-honoured let-down
Called the sky.
I did not know at the time
That it was a blend of steams, gases, dust,
This everlasting drunkard
Hovering in the void
To delude us with beauty.
We are failed clumps of dust
Awaiting affection from other dust.
If I possessed the power of my own making
I’d be a raining cloud
To cry without anyone growing sad.
I’ve no idea how joy might come about
Other than by winning a war I hadn’t entered
And people’s eyes that pierce my skin
Are blind to my loneliness…
And another time
I wept like the horses
And walked in the streets of Cairo
Waiting on a miracle that will not happen.
I want to be at ease
But walking is the furthest thing from ease
And the two feet practice weeping as their trade,
My two feet weep as does my heart.
I want to be at ease
But I am alone.