I will ask about you, son

I always get goosebumps when I read this poem from the one of my favorites, the preeminent Iraqi writer and activist Saadi Youssef (1934-), who has spent much of his life in exile.

saadi

“Undead Nature”

Abu al-Khaseeb passes
blue
like morning fog,
a wooden bridge dripping dampness,
there are palm trees
and hyacinths.
The tenderness of happiness
is in the sky.
I will ask about you, son,
when things are cloudy;
I ask about you.
I ask about you.
But I already see you now:
day after day,
night after night.
So wait for me, O son,
we will meet
where the fog is blue
in the morning.

___

Translated by Sinan Antoon and Peter Money in Nostalgia my Enemy 

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I know the history of the sun

Today I share a moment of spare brilliance from the great Afghan modernist poet Partaw Naderi (1953-).

partaw-naderi-portrait_427x0_400_266_90

“Star Rise”

I am the twin of light
I know the history of the sun

Stars
rise from the blisters on my hands.

Kabul
February, 1994
translated by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari