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Live Encounters Arab Poets in Translation August 2023
A crippling guide, poems by Faris Khader.
A crippling guide
(He knows nothing of his desert except the abyss)
I cannot find anything that indicates me
Only my pain
O head of wisdom and foolishness
You have not read my chapter
Or caught my fire… ever
But you know the way
My hand squeezed in your knowing hand
And my steps are more ignorant than a sacrifice
That walks towards the slaughterhouse
I walk against your wind
Fascinated by old singing
And I do not follow the gallows
Over your walls
So that I do not suffer
You left me in a semicircle
And you said:
All roads lead to the abyss
If you pointed to the edge of a mountain, I would have walked
I am the blind
I took my share of the dark
And your crutch that was eaten by licorice
Crucified me in the wind
If you bequeathed me cruelty
I would not cross this forest barefoot
And I would have taken the thorns out of my throat
And released my cry
And I would live near my wild plant
To watch my sadness
When it drinks my rain
And sleeps under my cloud.
Be pleased to be
No warrior sheds
On his rifle.
Took off its feet
At my waist
And shared the houses their grief
The baker of legends
I feed you..
And the pebbles crackle on the fire
For my hungry child to sleep.
I distribute sleep on the eyelids
And the terror waters its tall tree.
The cry of the flute
When it blows the smoke off
After the wars finished their music
And the earth was filled with blood
If.. you bequeathed me cruelty..
I left my palm
Hanged on the pillars of the shrine
And the intercession is spoiled
On the feet of the sectarians
This is my fault..
The crime that I do not know what it is
So I flee from my shadow
And I do not gain from my successive breaths
With fingers touching life
When it runs to its burrows..
With a mouth
As a tank
That distributes its missiles fairly
With an enemy
In the goal
Bemoaning the wasted ammunition.
That do not cross the road
Except to an abyss..
With my scorched blood
And the scent of my limbs on embers,
I eat my body..
And die hungry.
© Faris Khader
Faris Khader (1969) is an Egyptian poet. He has published four poetry collections. He works as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Radio and Television Magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Egyptian Poetry Magazine (2007-2017). He holds a PhD in Philosophy of Folk Arts (specializing in folk customs and beliefs), from the Academy of Arts. He has published folkloric studies, including: The Inheritance of Sorrow, Perceptions of Death in the Popular Consciousness, Enchanted Cities: Bridging the Distance between Heaven and Earth, and The Night Vigil: 100 Folk Tales from the Dakhla Oasis.