Adonis Selected Poems

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Translated By Hassan Hilmy



Greetings, O body!

Ye melody that pleasure hath modulated as tones

With which it is delighted,

Tones it adores, tones that have elated it,

Tones it hath arranged in immediate correspondence
##### to the four humours:

The highest string <------> Yellow bale

The second string <------> Blood

The third string <------> Phlegm

The lowest string <------> Black bale

And it hath run rhythm in innumerable rivers.

Greeting, O Body!


Come closer, O olive tree!

Let this wanderer embrace thee

Let him sleep in thy shade

Allow him to pour forth his life on thy kind trunk

And allow him to call thee:

O woman!


At night,

We, women, get out of our beds

And walk naked till we reach the fringe of the village

We carry rods having the colour of clay,

Rods over which we sprinkle water.

We sit on the dry soil
#### …clouds emerge

and the rain ensues.


Lie down, o beauty, on thy back

On this lovely grass

Place an exquisite flower between thy thighs

And tell thy charming lover

To displace it with his most gorgeous organ.


Get naked, O blossoming tree, wrap thyself in moonlight

Descend, O Master Moon,

Wrap thyself in the blossoming tree

We have provided a ladder for thee,

Making the flower's foot the last of its steps;

We have bedecked it with other blossoms,

We have engraved on it drawings

Of cock species on land

Of catfish species at sea

So that we may witness the wedding of heaven and earth

The wedding of the body and the non-body.


O you who wert pursued by a woman

That covered her body with school leaves

And banded her head with corollas

Her name was the Princess of Grass and Feast

And the Princess of Speech ?

O ye who hast departed!

Here we are, gathering around

Thy name,
#### Taking thee for a tree.

We break thee branch by branch

We create of thee a doll we cover with straw.

We cast it to the froth

And we say:





Of the keys

Of the sea.


Take a plait of thy hair

Tie it to this branch

Leave them windward in embrace

Where heaven descends

Earth ascends

In the image of two lovers

Where harlotry weds prophecy

turning into ingots of joy

On every high hill

And under every green tree

Where heaven bears witness against us

And the stones bear witness against heaven.


Ye, who hast departed, (when we had come together)!

We now marvel at our unity

We mock it

Now the very significance reveals itself to us

Ye, who hast departed

As a line that returns to itself,

Bends in one direction

And infinitely extends in other directions ?

Here we are gathering around

Thy name

We confine thee between night and day

And we build up the orient as evidence.

And in thy name we identify:

The night is the black colour of attachment

The day is the white colour of detachment

The night is the illusion of addition

The night is unity: nothing is with them

The day is the existence of patterns in reasoned dust

The night is perplexity/ complexity of factors

The day is rectitude/ presence

The night is contemporaneity

The day is extension

And the orient is a relation

The orient is recurrent voices

And states of revelation.




Why, O why, do I fail

To awake thee, O forest

That lies dormant within me?


- Your thoughts, like clouds,

Are ships without harbour.

- Can you direct me to one single shore?


The clouds are the most articulate speech

On the obscurity of life.


The clouds leaned over the forest

And they were torn by the winds.


I have started to believe

That it is possible to criticise the skyline,

Departing from the clouds,

Or conversely:

To criticise the clouds,

Departing from the skyline.

Could such criticism be of any use

To the clouds of poetry or to its skyline?


He's described himself thus:

Silent in company,

Silent in seclusion,


In conditions other than these.


She's asked me:

Does the night dream?

And if it did, would it really dream of the day?



The sun awoke me,

And I was dreaming of it.


When he lost his lady friend, he wrote lamenting her:

A splendid body that would adorn a love nest

We now lower into a fosse!

It is not, oh, a matter of death,

It's a matter of decency.



The star weeps, -

The star's tears are a night.


A star in a long dress

Strolling among the palm trees.

A Rose

A rose. Its own fragrance is its home

And the breeze its bed.


Is there water anywhere that may quench

The thirst of water.

A Woman's Face

I have dwelt in the face of a woman

That dwells in a wave

The ebb casts on a shore

That has lost its harbour in its shells.

I have dwelt in the face of a woman

That murders me, one that loves to inhere

As an unlit lighthouse in my blood that keeps sailing
### to the extremity of madness.



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