Seven Birds


Poem by Mohamed Bennis
Translated by Fady Joudah

To Mahmoud Darwish

A white Bird

A breath condenses
Even density can be pleasant
Each wall widens its cracks

And retains the call

A height that remains a height
Springs that have gathered the winds of the fields

A Red Bird

It may have travelled the river in one night
The road may have guided it through the upper layers

I ponder the mystery of its redness
Then forget the sky
That has taken it


A Green Bird

There are sleeping feathers before me
Feathers that blast me with the fire of distance
And feathers without a body that bend
And collect
In a point

Between us speech is fluttering

A Blue Bird

So drunk in the evening it’s almost unable to return
It would prefer that departure go on
Without departure

Of light in the pool
Grow longer

A Black Bird

Each thing wants to emulate it
Water in the pots
Words on their birthdays
Caravans across borders
A girl not yet wet with dew

But the thrush
Emulates only

It stays on branches of joy

A Yellow Bird

That window remains open for it as they sit face to face and the bird stays because of an approaching silence until without even pecking the grains it soars just as its past did just as its future will at dawn
A Colorless Bird
Elated it chirps on one of the nights of solitude
Before it flies
Where light unites with vibration
A draft that startles
Its visitor with a wing whose recurrent glitter
Is ever-changing and I can see it from a distance
It flies
So that what I see
Is this thing that resembles nothing distant
Translated by Fady Joudah