Three poems by Ahmed Nada

by qisasukhra

Three unpublished poems by Egyptian poet Ahmed Nada who has one collection to date, بعد ذهابهم بقليل (Kalema, 2012) [A Little After They Left]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?


And suddenly

And suddenly

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

One time

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.