Thursday Poem

Heaven on Earth

No one knows anything of it, except its name,
as if things exist only in utterance.
Skin devours pulp
and dust is another name for naught.

And this is not the worse of man’s wretchedness:
He descends into the vessel of You and is You.
and rises as the mist “I am
at your beck and call, O Lord.
Your beck and call!”

And here you are, Jerusalem, Al-Quds,
skating on the ice of meaning.
The sky houses her djinn and ifrits in you
to guard the oceans of language.


from Kunshirtu ‘l-Quds
publisher: Dâr al-Adâb, Beirut, 2012

Translation: 2013, Khaled Mattawa
First published on Poetry International, 2013