Ahmed Nabawi – Consolation

Nabawi LE Arabic Poetry September 2023

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Live Encounters Arab Poets in Translation August 2023

Consolation, poems by Ahmed Nabawi.


I want a window
Wider than my eyes
And a headphone
Finer than my ears
I want
Instead of my two arms, two large wings
Too long nose
Two-minute legs
Train myself
To listen with my heart
And see with my ears
I like being led by my wild mind
Until the end of the journey
I am afraid he will abandon me
And leave me paralyzed
Leaning on the void
I do not like to die protruding eyes
Opening my mouth
Oh, my God
Even these
I will not be able to control
I also could not control my appearance
When I come to life

Exit door

He said to me:
Then you have to
Wear thick dark clothes
And two pairs of long stockings
And you should
Take shelter in a cornerstone
Close to the door
As your legs no longer
Bear the weight of those years
That accumulated over your skinny body


I do not like thick dark clothes
And I do not like that cornerstone
Near the door
I love
To ascend the stairs with musical lightness
To read the house room by room
To be assured
That my love
Who came out years ago
Her scent still permeated the place
And its small details
Is still alive
And she blames me if I am late
So I kiss her apologetically
When I wipe her hair
And wipe a tear, without her seeing it
I love
To go into her room
On my own
Twice every day
And open her cupboard
And hug her dresses for a long time
A dress by dress
Until the nostalgia that never
Quenches is satisfied
And I always love
To walk in the open plain
To dance
And sing
When I embrace people
In the wide garden


So what happens
If it is time to go out
When I go up the stairs?!
When I embrace my sweetheart’s dresses
While I am walking in the open plain
Or even
When I dance and sing
Is not the exit movement one?!

Two refugees

An old man and an elderly woman
Rely on unfair time
Rely on their fading youth
There was nothing left of their lives
Except a little
They cultivate life with love
In the span of a long life
And they built a small house
In a moment
Volcanoes of cannon
And stray missiles blew up
The long life plant


An old man and an elderly woman
In the midst of the ruins
– Distraught –
They tremble
They do not utter a word
They do not cry
Leaning on a cloudy fate
Leaning on the open
Their eyes stared
And went backwards
The soul is neither satisfied
Nor reassured


An old man and an elderly woman
Towards the camp
They are crawling
Towards the camp
In a fugue
They lean on pure words
They lean on the sky
They do not look ahead
They do not look back
In a tent
– In the middle of the camp –
They sit
She does not move
She comes near her beloved
And enters into fugue
And remains from silence
To silence
And messing with her fingertips in the dust
– He does not move a finger
He comes near his beloved
And he enters into fugue
And he remains from silence
To silence
And messing with his fingertips in the dust


At night
Where the wind is hungry
And the groaning of wounds
And the snow is falling
And the stray missiles
And the cannons – without heed – wail
She gave him the bread of The Relief
– And the bereavement looms in her eyes –
He casted it aside
And stretched out on her side… and fell asleep
Next to him
She threw her body… and fell asleep


In the morning
The Relief announced
– In the crowd of arrivals –
About a tent
In its hollow
The whining fell silent
And The Relief workers dug a hole
To include
Two dead bodies:
An old man
And an elderly lady


© Ahmed Nabawi

Ahmed Nabawi is a contemporary Egyptian poet and academic. He deals with humanitarian themes in his poetry. His poetic career began early in the nineties. He has five collections of poetry: Testimony of Love, Wounds Have Tributaries, Flames of Questions, Scenes from the Refugee Camp and The Flourishment of Colors. Two collections in print entitled An Ant Said and The Doors. In addition, he has a collection of critical books, including The Poet’s Culture and Significance Production, The Poetics of Small Details, The Contemplative Tendency in Andalusian Poetry, and The Heritage Tributaries in Andalusian Poetry.

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