How did you droop

like a captain horrified by a storm

when in your horizons

flocks of white clouds passed

tickling the eyelids of the sun,

and close to your vacant eyes

ecstatic daffodil tresses

went swaying in rapture

at the edges of the stream

sipping wine from the golden horizon

and pouring drunken ghosts

in the mirror of the staggering water?

How did you slacken

like the leaves of autumnal age

when at the brightening of the moment

a choir of children

were born

who rose from the sleeves of flowers

like night lovers

and their legs, tattooed with henna,

slim like desert antelopes,

went running after the shadows of the clouds

to catch the rainbow arc

lying between the threads of the sun

and learn magic from him?

How did you disappear

like a terrified squirrel

when from the lobes of clouds

came into sight

from whom sighs resounded

revealing the passions of the gypsy body

running away from the passageways of tramping,

veiled, out of fear,

with the fog of dawn

wet with rain drops,

drowned in the pains of memory?

How did you miss the light dwelling in your niche,

the fresh joy in your times,

the promising hope in your mirror,

love flowing on your papers,

the wide-open door before you

and the spray of April's gentle breeze

embracing your dreams,

scattering flowers in your pathways?

How did your colors spill,

your melodies regress,

and your beaches depart?

Woe to you!

You've wasted the years of life like scattered dust

and dug a grave for your heart.

(Translated from Arabic by Nizar Sartawi)

Between Two Eras

Nizar Sartawi's picture

Nizar Sartawi, a Jordanian poet and translator of Palestinian descent, was born in Sarta, Palestine, on February 16, 1951. He received his elementary, intermediate, and high school education in Jerusalem and Nablus schools. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Jordan in Amman. He also holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota in the U.S., Sartawi began writing Arabic poetry at the age of 14. In 1980, he abandoned literary writing. However, in 2010, he returned to the world of poetry and literature. His first collection of Arabic poetry, Between Two Eras, was published in 1911. The collection combines his old and new poems., Sartawi translates poetry from English and other languages to Arabic and from Arabic to English. His translations have been published in poetry collections, literary journals, papers, and on the Internet. His translated works include:, - The Prayers Of The Nightingale (2013), Selected Poems by Indian poet Sarojini Naidu., - The Fragments of The Moon (2013), Selected poems by Italian poet Mario Rigli ., - Contemporary Jordanian Poets, Volume I (2013)., - The Eyes Of The Wind (2014), Selected Poems by Tunisian poet Fadhila Messai., - The Soul Dances In Its Cradle (2015), Selected Poems by Danish poet Niels Hav., Sartawi is currently working on a major translation project, Arab Contemporary Poets Series., Sartawi lives with his family in Amman, Jordan. He has one son, three daughters, and six grandchildren.

Last updated May 16, 2012