Rasha Ahmed – A shadow resembling a gallows

Rasha LE Arab Women P&W April 2024

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Live Encounters Arab Women Poets & Writers April 2024.

A shadow resembling a gallows,  poems by Rasha Ahmed.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda

A shadow resembling a gallows

I do not have any indulgences
And no stray star in my heart
A completely naked woman
Who covered her loneliness with a shadow that looked like a gallows
Every day she wraps it around her neck
She is waiting for a lonely butterfly
That returns back from the forest
With a wound
That shortens the route to the sea.


Love, this transparent being
How do we buy or sell it
How to rent ourselves to it for a day
For a week, a month, a year
The trees of silence withered
The soil is dry
No moon in the jug
Love is our fresh, sweet disease
That does not go to the doctor
We will always wither and grow in it
Like a flower
Like a laugh
Like a tremor that burns the language
In the bones of the bed.

I love you
I regain yesterday, today and tomorrow
I regain myself
And wait for another life
That we can color
We can ignite through the eye of a needle
We laugh
When we fight over a kiss
That we do not know how to, justly, distribute
On two lips
No commandments for grass
We rest time on its crooked side
We smile
When we take its hand
Until it crosses the sidewalk.

© Rasha Ahmed

Rasha Ahmed is an Egyptian poet and cultural editor. She has published several collections of poetry, including “The Boredom of Losses,” “It Was Nothing but the Water of My Heart,” “With a Pale Light,” and “An Empty Seat Weary by the Light.”

Translation by Dr. Salwa Gouda, an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University. She holds a PhD in English literature and criticism. She received her education at Ain-Shams University and California State University in San Bernardino. She has published several academic books, including “Lectures in English Poetry, and “Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism” and others. She has also contributed to the translation of “The Arab Encyclopedia for Pioneers,” which includes poets and their poetry, philosophers, historians, and men of letters, under the supervision of UNESCO. Additionally, her poetry translations have been published in various international magazines.

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