Hassan Najmi
Hassan Najmi
Selected Poems


Translated by Sinan Antoon



The corpse about which we know nothing

The corpse, which came from the past and went ahead of us

The corpse, which we call for

is calling for us.

The corpse, which belongs to its maggots

and whose crows roam above our heads

The corpse in and between us

The one around which we sing chants,

raise flags and lower them

The corpse we befriend and from which we  derive strength

We run away from it

We run away to it

It compels us to forget and teaches us to remember.

We murdered that corpse again today.

We want to survive, to be away from its shadow

We want to run away from every elegy

We want to yawn and sleep




I am not less blind than you.

Like you, I know how to step

although my eyes are not completely dead

although the flow of light is plentiful


I do not like to see what is visible.

I am blind like you.

And have no regrets for things I left under the light.

Like you, I have only been deprived of blackness.





(In memory of Brodsky)


He was in utter solitude

and had nothing but words

He was one.

He was "less than one"

Ever since he was abandoned

the poet did not return to his country

Because he had committed no crime

he didn't return

to the crime scene.




I dust my mornings,

arrange the nights in the closet.

And because there must be a taste of a woman,

I remember you a bit and slip into my cold bed.

Because I have nothing to do,

I ask: Is there anyone lazier than a poet?

Is there more chatter than this silence?



 Translated by Sinan Antoon from the author's collections

'Ala Infirad, Rabat: Manshurat Ukaz, 2006,

al-Mustahammat, Casablanca: Dar al-Thaqafa, 2002

and al-Riyah al-Buniyya, Rabat: Marsam, 1993.