Khalid Albudoor
Khalid Albudoor
Unknown Bedouins


Translated by John Peate


Before the sun climbs over

the walls of the mud houses

unknown Bedouins return

to rest themselves in my dreams

after selling milk and honey

in the city market.


The sandy courtyard lies in fog

and the palm tree’s plaits

sway, seeming asleep


to the water flowing

in the depths of the well.


Pale pictures hunt in my head

A long, empty time has passed since I found oblivion

and back came the Bedouins

raiding my day with their sandy faces.


Where does this sound of the coffee grinder come from

that resounds through the walls of my house

where I doze

forgetting the television

flickering noiselessly in the shadows?


I know my memory has forgotten the shape of water

I have drifted like those

who wander without land

searching for stars for centuries.


Tell me, O trees, which watch over my lounge,

where these voices come from

that resound in my night.

Maybe if you concentrated

you could make out their faces

which camel driver’s song they’re singing

or which memory . . .

and why

they raid my house now,

with their quizzical faces,

while my sleep is nothing but

the contentions of drowsiness

on the threshold of dawn.