My Country

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By the fountain in Beit Jabri, old city Damascus, 2009. Photo by Susan Dirgham

My Country

– by Nizar Qabbani,
– translated by Norma Medawar

From the lisp of the
blackbird…

From the saddening
huskiness of the flute…

From the flickering sounds of
the folk songs

From the sighs of the
minaret…

From a cloud at sunset
woven by a chimney and by
the wound of the bricks of
the decorated and widespread
villages…

From the whispers of a star
settled in our east

From a story between
a rose and a lily

From the gasp of a
woodcutter returning with a
weary axe

The sparrow is delighted to
build his nest among us

And the willow trees spin
their homes in the brooklets

Our boundaries are protected
by jasmine and dew drops

Our flowers are blossoming
like coloured thoughts…

In my country the rocks are
in love, and the vines
are addicted

Our country was there… and
all times came after it.

 

Signs of ancient times, by the souq, Damascus, 2009. Photo by Susan Dirgham