Poem by Mohamed Bennis
Translated by James Kurkup


These caravans when they lengthen along my roads
lengthening of morning
a glass
I say : awake
Butterflies swarm around the warmth pf my breath
I see silence fall like a drop
from the height
of drunkenness
more pure always more pure
I bear branches
they perpetuate for me an errancy
my face from time that is closed on a wall
I pursue a voice's cry
that breaks in my throat
and leaves a naked earth as if I were alone
in quest of light
Perhaps the flash of words is calling me
o you the drunkard
the drunkard

At random in my drunkenness I encountered
I know they were born
on an earth whose frontiers are lost in silence

Those faces
I thought I saw them in a single spectre
that one night gives a terrifying bang on the door
on another night yet another night
Ho there landlord
here we are
we are looking for a wine a Bordelais
A friend resembled us
he will come with the dews of morning
Unbolt the door
that his body may descend
a light flying between a glass he was drinking
and another glass
filled perhaps from the hollow of his breast
I shouted
and the shadows are devouring
a star that twinkled
the glass
is shining

One instant
For me the ceremony of absence

The night
gnaws at whatever transparency slid between us

A light
Ripples on the bottles Reflects the aroma of purity

A glass
Senses a shiver in the palm that the cloud submerges

A passion
Is multiplied our face how to describe it

The silence
Is an overture to silence A fountain and waters

A body
Where has it escaped me

A wine
Thirst that is nourished in the depths of insomnia

A gust of wind
Realized I am binding birds to their infinity

A fire
Guides my hand towards a hermitage in the form of blood

A horizon
A resonance repeats to me the ember of a vigil beneath the ashes