January 2, 2014

A Pebble

The day after the flood
A stagnant morning
There is a tear at the bottom of the world
Frozen like an orphan pebble

The hurricane obliterates everything
Palmtrees, houses, boats, bicycles and minarets
But this pebble stays

right there, shining faintly
Because the hand of eternity
Has polished its bald head just like the Lord’s shoeshine:

There it is under your foot. Step on it if you wish. Step hard

Then cross over. Fear not
Among pebbles, it is no more than
a pebble.

--- Sargon Boulus. Translated from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon. From Sargon Boulus, `Azma Ukhra li-Kalb al-Qabila (Beirut/Baghdad: Dar al-Jamal, 2008)]

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