Ousted by None but the Night
Arabic Poem by: Adnan Abu Andalus*
Inaam Al-Hashimi (Gold_n_silk)
The dusty street is bare
Darkness there and the horizon
As if, the night was sprinkling fear
But a policeman followed like a ghost
A street cat
A wailing ambulance
All where time is open for running
Who would stroll in the range of bullets?
To come back in the morrow like a spinning top
Without a head?
Who would walk alone?
And fly off with the meekness of the past
In Baghdad’s night?
Who would believe that AlZawraa held her lungs
And ousted the breath of her patrons?
And that “Abu Nawas” replaced
His last glass of wine
With a cup of black coffee?
Shahriar uttered it
To protest shampoo ads!
Scheherazade wore the veil
Bad boys of the night
Shunned flirting with girls
In the Girls Street.
Translated December, 2012
By: Em. Prof. Inam Al-Hashimi
* Adnan Abu Andalus is a poet from Iraq
from his poetry collection “The Smell of Doomsday”
1 Knowing some of the history of ancient Baghdad may be helpful in facilitating better understanding of the poem. Baghdad was famous as the center place of the “Arabian nights” or the "Thousand and One Nights Tales" where Scheherazade, night after night, told the king Shahryar a different tale of romance and adventure to keep him from killing her in the morning.. Ancient Baghdad, nicknamed "AlZawra’a", was known for receiving, with open arms. night-patrons in joy and without fear. The poem refers to the glamorous past of Baghdad in comparison with the grim and gloomy nights of modern Baghdad after the war. In doing so, the poem mentions some symbols of the past and historical figures from old Baghdad and the Golden Age of the caliph Haroun al-Rashid (died 809 AD), and presents them in images contrary to their characters. Such figures include the licentious poet “Abu Nuwas" who wouldn’t recite poetry without being drunk. And the afore mentioned Scheherazade and Shahryar.