Fadhil al-Azzawi
Fadhil al-Azzawi
Two poems



Tightening my safety belt around my waist,

through the window I saw Bedouins galloping

on their tired camels.

They came from all corners of the desert,

set their tents in the hills

and burned their fires

upon the ruins of their history.


They came and kneeled

                         kissing the ground

                                                  and swearing eternal loyalty.

They wept and beat their chests with chains,

shed pagan salty tears and begged me, their prodigal son, 

to forgive them their mischiefs and sins

but I, who wrote his name in the sand,

closed my eyes and listened only to the thundering of my soul.


When their piercing shrieks drowned

in the deafening rumble of our flying carpet,

a blond Scottish stewardess appeared suddenly

like an angel, spreading her kisses left and right,

and taught us how to stay alive and survive

when the veil is lifted

and the world comes to an end –

“The day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail.” *


She said:

Please, don’t forget to turn off your mobile phones!

There are eight emergency doors on both sides

and under the wings.

However, there is no reason to fear

so long as God is with us

as we cross the Sea of Darkness

on this blessed bird.


Thank you for making the right choice to fly with us

from Baghdad to Gomorrah.


British Airways

                       is always

                                     at your service.






Evening falling. A city mourning. Barbed wires.

From the beach a confused hawk flying high into the wind.


A wide flatland, greenish with grass, stretching to the horizon, stopped short by the sea.

On the beach, we see three baby dinosaurs playing peacefully. In the sky, jet fighters head towards me. In the foreground, a clown all dressed up, with a painted face, plays football with three plastic dolls.


A high wall, up to my shoulder, crumbling away and darkened with the scars of time. From behind it, a man with an animal head, blotched with red inside blue spots, gazes at us. There, under the wall, is a guitar covered with ants.


Oh, how white is the rock, except for the algae covering its surface!

Oh, how happy are nations, except for the blood writing their histories!

Oh, how vital is the king, except for the death lying in his heart!




*  Qur’an, Sura “The Poets”, Verse 88



Translated by the author


Back to top

Back to Selections from Banipal 46 – 80 New Poems

Back to Contents page of Banipal 46 – 80 New Poems