Ibrahim al-Mullah
Selected Poems

Selected Poems

Translated by Robin Moger

I shall see you as I imagine you;
I shall not close my eyes this time.
nothing enters nothing as you descend
like a statue into the river. 


On the pages,
the poem incomplete;
on the bed,
the frozen mist
of a remembered body.


Down the slope we descend
and see pale smoke coming from his house.
The wind was gently buffeting the curtains
and there was strange motion in the grass.
We did not draw too close
but the blind man moved the curtains
and from a gap in the window looked straight at us.
We froze, certain that his senses ran us through;
counted us out one by one,
like pebbles, through his fingers. 


You work through the robe,
weaving from remnants of wool
a wound,
colouring these evenings
with a peal of your silence.


They went to the desert,
abstaining from speech.
They went to that which lies beyond silence,
out there, to the exiled sands
and the vanishing sculptures of the winds.
Out there, in sunset’s dead centre,
in the heart of absolute silence,
they heard for the last time
the sound of their souls’ deep splinterings.


I am not here
and was not.
Your shade alone
was burnishing the mirror.
And I remember that I had a body
and that my room was full of words.


To the sermon’s rhythm,
like morsels scattered in a garden
the branches splinter beneath the caretaker.
Where light has left the magnolias
where the cold has ripened with its grand passion:
a bloom, solitary and black,
the deceit, sweetened for butterflies,
the blind appeal
to a hand unseen.