The Testimony of the Violet

Against Himself


I renounced my sadness

But I don’t know why every time I give up

I become more susceptible to sadness


I sit in the expanse

Counting the clouds

Or set off to capture the lake

Then release it


O Lord, how many are my lanterns?

He approached me, and set my body free from my hand

And said, ‘My son – ’

Then drowsiness overwhelmed him and he slept


The jasmine crosses over the fence

Towards the woman next door

Checks for her yearning

And descends on a trellis of bodies


Our neighbour

– I sneak a look at her as the jasmine does –

Washes her lovers

And hangs them out on language’s shoulder


She bends

The top of her dress hangs down

O God, you have made me insane with those plump apples

But why am I at fault?

It's the apples that are plump


The peddlers came back, left the bread

A lost field came home


Our neighbour

Arranges her bosom

And restores the river to her blouse


I renounced

And my physician of language told me,

You are susceptible to poetry and to meaning

The poem will enter you


A woman, ripe, passed by

I said to my companion

She entered the poem to change her clothes

I felt embarrassed, instead of myself


Our neighbour

Adorns her hair with a moon

And walks alone into the well

Drawing up a star that had fallen off the night

I realised

I could see

Fallen apples


I was growing in my clothes, not knowing the purpose

They grew up

And the fence grew between them


Upon my name, other names ripened

And whenever I entered the poem, the wretched entered with me

As did the neighbour of the apples


A neighbour asks about her neighbour:

He moves from faith to the café

From one quality to another

He forgets when he returns that they had killed him

He forgets

How to keep playing his role


The girls wake from their dreams

The secret love of the youngest

Falls onto the stone of eloquence,

Talk is broken

The wounded language falls into the water jar


Another spontaneously prepares herself

By entering a course in love


He alone is distracted

The thread of his words trails on the road

A cloud attached to it

A bullet hole illuminates his shirt pocket


He moves aside into doubt

Was I the stand-in?

Where did the bullet hide its power to kill?


The dead man is distracted, as the murderer is

They continue their death

The killer says to the victim

Get up and walk


I renounced my death

But I don’t know why every time I give up

You die instead of me.

My neighbour testified

And how could you kill someone other than me

So you continue his death instead of us


In front of the inquisition

My neighbour says:

When they were killed the first time

They exchanged flight maps

The ground floor was…

She is distracted

Then enters her own silence.



Translated by Ayesha Saldanha, based on an original translation by Hameed Al Qaed.