Pontus Marine

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Poem - The Killing of the She-Camel by Hadraawi

The Killing of the She-Camel (Hal La Qalay)


How they came rushing to that place
where the carcass of the she-camel lay,
and what a commotion there was
as each caught at her flesh
pair by pair clawed off their share
frying it in the glare of the sun
and cramming down dry
its crisp skin, crunching the bones.
You'd bare your teeth too to see
their scattered followers come
still cramped with greed, ravenous
at seeing the smoke ascend
from the colossal mountain’s top,
scrambling up cliffs and ravines.

The snake sneaks in the castle:
although it's carpeted with thorns
still the coward casts off his curses
so the courageous must stretch out his neck;
the cob stallion sells his values
in order to cut a fine figure.
When such cockiness struts forth
and even laughter becomes a crime
our country has unfinished business.

When the aardvark tells the lion
how it's supposed to hunt
and orders it, 'Go catch
the young camel and the oryx';
then carves five times its share
setting this aside
while granting for the lion’s role
glands and offal,
commanding it, 'Don't quibble,'
the lion can't cave in
and doesn't hide its hurt
but now and then remembering
the loss of its prestige
it bites its lip in bitterness.


The snake sneaks in the castle:
although it's carpeted with thorns
still the coward casts off his curses
so the courageous must stretch out his neck;
the cob stallion sells his values
in order to cut a fine figure.
When such cockiness struts forth
and even laughter becomes a crime
our country has unfinished business.

Never will I ever accept
a single insulting slice
from those grasping commissars -
I won't share a thing with them.
Until the grave's prepared
to forego its three yard shroud
or a collar round the neck,
since one at least is needed
to cover the naked dead,
I’ll keep rallying and calling
until the Day of Judgement,
pray my cries can comfort the dead:
tie me to this task, and don't
release me from its harness.

The snake sneaks in the castle:
although it's carpeted with thorns
still the coward casts off his curses
so the courageous must stretch out his neck;
the cob stallion sells his values
in order to cut a fine figure.
When such cockiness struts forth
and even laughter becomes a crime
our country has unfinished business.
Published with permission from http://www.poetrytranslation.org
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