Poems by Ahmed Shafie

by qisasukhra

Poems by Ahmed Shafie published in أخبار الأدب. 

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1

I think of a rose,

While walking the central strip between the road’s two lanes,

at which: it sprouts.

Suddenly, I’ve no thought for the car’s roar,

the headlights,

Not even for the newborn rose.

Suddenly,

panic strikes:

I am the first human in this rose’s life;

it will mean no one else when it speaks

of the first of men.

I think: were I to water it or pluck it

I would, in either instance, give it the wrong idea

of civilisation.

To give the right idea, I think, it must be

both evils:

water it first

then pluck it at the last.

And so,

after long observation,

I do (a true miracle)

as does a peasant with his carrot.

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2

This may not be a tree

but a bird can crap on it

and I, with a clasp knife, can

carve my name,

and one day

when its paint flakes away,

its cinderblocks crumble,

and it disappears completely

it shall exactly resemble a tree

that is no more.

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3

I know a tree.

No one ever built a ship

Without knowing it.

A small tree,

smaller than my finger

held next to my eye.

I eat from none other

save what I shit.

A tree I love.

I worshipped there,

my lover and I,

a god who was not

in our absence.

A tree that,

some sufficient time before I die,

I’ll plant,

not just to see it

but

to ensure after my death

that it dies.

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4

Myself

I know there’s no

white roses there,

but the desire gets us every time: for a cloud,

however small,

here on earth.

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5

I want to die before I grow old.

Older than this, I mean.

I mean: before I come to accept the world

enough to open a window

in a wall.

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6

Day in my village is a night

disguised.

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7

I wipe my glasses

with a paper tissue,

a tie,

the coffee’s steam and cotton shirt;

I rinse it with water,

with soap and water,

to no avail:

It’s the world’s that’s filthy.

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