Nizar Qabbani, the poems and poetry of the Syrian master poet translated into English.


In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.


Love happened at last,
And we entered God’s paradise,
Under the skin of the water
Like fish.
We saw the precious pearls of the sea
And were amazed.
Love happened at last
Without intimidation…with symmetry of wish.
So I gave…and you gave
And we were fair.
It happened with marvelous ease
Like writing with jasmine water,
Like a spring flowing from the ground.

Heliotricity Nizar Qabbani


She sat with fear in her eyes
Contemplating the upturned cup
She said ‘Do not be sad, my son
You are destined to fall in love’
My son, Who sacrifices himself for his beloved,
Is a martyr

For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I read a cup similar to yours
For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I seen sorrows similar to yours
You are predestined to sail forever
Sail-less, on the sea of love
Your life is forever destined
To be a book of tears
And be imprisoned
Between water and fire

But despite all its pains,
Despite the sadness
That is with us day and night
Despite the wind
The rainy weather
And the cyclone
It is love, my son
That will be forever the best of fates

There is a woman in your life, my son
Her eyes are so beautiful
Glory to God
Her mouth and her laughter
Are full of roses and melodies
And her gypsy and crazy love of life
Travels the world
The woman you love
May be your whole world
But your sky will be rain-filled
Your road blocked, blocked, my son
Your beloved, my son, is sleeping
In a guarded palace
He who approaches her garden wall
Who enters her room
And who proposes to her
Or tries to unite her plaits
Will cause her to be lost, my son…lost

You will seek her everywhere, my son
You will ask the waves of the sea about her
You will ask the shores of the seas
You will travel the oceans
And your tears will flow like a river
And at the close of your life
You will find that since your beloved
Has no land, no home, no address
You have been pursuing only a trace of smoke
How difficult it is, my son
To love a woman
Who has neither land, nor home

Nizar Qabbani Beirut mistress of the world


I wept until my tears were dry

I prayed until the candles flickered

I knelt until the floor creaked

I asked about Mohammed and Christ

Oh Jerusalem, the fragrance of prophets

The shortest path between earth and sky

Oh Jerusalem, the citadel of laws

A beautiful child with fingers charred
 and downcast eyes

You are the shady oasis passed by the Prophet

Your streets are melancholy

Your minarets are mourning

You, the young maiden dressed in black

Who rings the bells in the Nativity

On Saturday morning?

Who brings toys for the children

On Christmas eve?

Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrow

A big tear wandering in the eye

Who will halt the aggression

On you, the pearl of religions?

Who will wash your bloody walls?

Who will safeguard the Bible?

Who will rescue the Quran?

Who will save Christ?

Who will save man?

Oh Jerusalem my town

Oh Jerusalem my love

Tomorrow the lemon trees will blossom

And the olive trees will rejoice

Your eyes will dance

The migrant pigeons will return

To your sacred roofs

And your children will play again

And fathers and sons will meet

On your rosy hills

My town
The town of peace and olives.

Poems of Nizar Qabbani


When a man is in love
how can he use old words?
Should a woman
desiring her lover
lie down with
grammarians and linguists?

I said nothing
to the woman I loved
but gathered
love’s adjectives into a suitcase
and fled from all languages.


If you are my friend…
Help me…to leave you

Or if you are my lover…
Help me…so I can be healed of you…

If I knew….
that the ocean is very deep…I would not have swam…

If I knew…how I would end,

I would not have began

I desire you…so teach me not to desire

teach me…
how to cut the roots of your love from the depths

teach me…
how tears may die in the eyes

and love may commit suicide

If you are prophet,

Cleanse me from this spell

Deliver me from this atheism…

Your love is like atheism…so purify me from this atheism

If you are strong…

Rescue me from this ocean

For I don’t know how to swim

The blue waves…in your eyes

drag me…to the depths

nothing but the color blue

and I have no experience

in love…and no boat…

If I am dear to you

then take my hand

For I am filled with desire…
from my 
head to my feet

I am breathing under water!

I am drowning…


I do not resemble your other lovers, my lady
should another give you a cloud
I give you rain
Should he give you a lantern, I
will give you the moon
Should he give you a branch
I will give you the trees
And if another gives you a ship
I shall give you the journey.


You’re repeating yourself
for the twentieth time.
Is there another man in my life?
Yes. Yes. What did you think?
Even graveyards have visitors.
There are, my dear sir,
a lot of men out there,
and no garden is ever devoid of birds.
You’re just an experience I had,
and here I am,
tired and bored from this experience,
out from under your spell.
I’m cured of all
my weakness and gullibility.
Niceties do, after all, always end.
You love me!
There you go again,
dredging up all that ancient history.
And since when did you ever show
the slightest interest in me
outside the contour of my hips?
Where does this sudden gush of love come from?
I was never anything more
than a forsaken chair
among your expensive furniture,
a garden you chose to raze
without shame or repentance.
Why are you staring at my breasts
as if you owned them?
And why do you weep as if you
stood before a lost kingdom?
Your glorious kingdom, dear sir,
has just crumbled.
There. I’ve settled my score
in an instant.
You tell me now
who’s losing the game.
I opened myself to you
like the Garden of Eden,
gave you all the sweet fruit
and green grass you desired.
Today I offer you
neither heaven nor hell.
This is what you get
for acting the ungrateful.
You faithless. If you’d only treated me
like a human being – just once –
this other man wouldn’t exist.

Nizar Qabbani poems and poetry


Do not ask me, the name of my love
I fear for you, from the fragrance of perfume
contained in a bottle, if you smashed it,
drowning you, in spilled scent

By God, if you even croaked a letter,
Lilacs would pile up on the paths

Do not look for it here in my chest
I have left it to run with the sunset

You can see it in the laughter of doves
In the flutter of butterflies
In the ocean, in the breathing of dales
and in the song of every nightingale
in the tears of winter, when winter cries
in the giving of a generous cloud

Do not ask about his lips…as elegant as the sunset
And his eyes, a shore of purity
And his waist, the sway of a branch
Charms…which no book has contained
Nor described by a literate’s feather
And his chest, his throat, enough for you

I won’t breath his name, my lover…


My lover asks me:
“What is the difference between me and the sky?”
The difference, my love,
Is that when you laugh,
I forget about the sky.


raise me more love… raise me
my prettiest fits of madness
O’ dagger’s journey… in my flesh
and knife’s plunge…
sink me further my lady…
the sea calls me
add to me more death …
perhaps as death slays me… I’m revived
your body is my map…
the world’s map no longer concerns me…
I am the oldest capital of sadness…
and my wound a Pharaonic engraving
my pain…. extends like an oil patch
from Beirut… to China…
my pain… a caravan…dispatched
by the Caliphs of ‘A’Chaam’… to China…
in the seventh century of the ‘Birth’…
and lost in a dragon’s mouth…
bird of my heart… ‘naysani’
O’ sand of the sea, and forests of olives
O’ taste of snow, and taste of fire…
my heathen flavor, and insight
I feel scared of the unknown… shelter me
I feel scared of the darkness… embrace me
I feel cold… cover me up
tell me children stories…
rest beside me…
Chant to me…
since from the start of creation
I’ve been searching for a homeland to my forehead…
for a woman’s hair…
that writes me on the walls… then erases me…
for a woman’s love… to take me
to the borders of the sun… and throws me…
from a woman’s lip… as she makes me
like dust of powdered gold…
shine of my life. my fan
my lantern. declaration of my orchards
stretch me a bridge with the scent of oranges…
and place me like an ivory comb…
in the darkness of your hair… then forget me
I am a drop of water… ambivalent
remaining in the notebook of October
your love crushes me…
like a mad horse from the Caucasus throwing me under its hoofs…
and gargles with the water of my eyes…
add to me more fury… add to me
O’ prettiest fits of my madness
for your sake I set free my women
and effaced my birth certificate
and cut all my arteries…


Your love taught me to grieve
and I have been in need, for centuries
a woman to make me grieve
for a woman, to cry upon her arms
like a sparrow
for a woman to gather my pieces
like shards of broken crystal

Your love has taught me, my lady, the worst habits
it has taught me to read my coffee cups
thousands of times a night
to experiment with alchemy,
to visit fortune tellers

It has taught me to leave my house
to comb the sidewalks
and search your face in raindrops
and in car lights
and to peruse your clothes
in the clothes of unknowns
and to search for your image
even in the posters of advertisements
your love has taught me
to wander around, for hours
searching for a gypsies hair
that all gypsies women will envy
searching for a face, for a voice
which is all the faces and all the voices…

Your love entered me…my lady
into the cities of sadness
and I before you, never entered
the cities of sadness
I did not know…
that tears are the person
that a person without sadness
is only a shadow of a person…

Your love taught me
to behave like a boy
to draw your face with chalk
upon the wall
upon the sails of fishermen’s boats
on the Church bells, on the crucifixes,
your love taught me, how love,
changes the map of time…
Your love taught me, that when I love
the earth stops revolving,
Your love taught me things
that were never accounted for
So I read children’s fairytales
I entered the castles of Jennies
and I dreamt that she would marry me
the Sultan’s daughter
those eyes..
clearer than the water of a lagoon
those lips…
more desirable than the flower of pomegranates
and I dreamt that I would kidnap her like a knight and I dreamt that I would give
her necklaces of pearl and coral
Your love taught me, my lady,
what is insanity
it taught me…how life may pass
without the Sultan’s daughter arriving

Your love taught me
How to love you in all things
in a bare winter tree,
in dry yellow leaves
in the rain, in a tempest,
in the smallest cafe, we drank in,
in the evenings…our black coffee

Your love taught me…to seek refuge
to seek refuge in hotels without names
in churches without names…
in cafes without names…

Your love taught me…how the night
swells the sadness of strangers
It taught me…how to see Beirut
as a woman…a tyrant of temptation
as a woman, wearing every evening
the most beautiful clothing she possesses
and sprinkling upon her breasts perfume
for the fisherman, and the princes
Your love taught me how to cry without crying
It taught me how sadness sleeps
Like a boy with his feet cut off
in the streets of the Rouche and the Hamra

Your love taught me to grieve
and I have been needing, for centuries
a woman to make me grieve
for a woman, to cry upon her arms
like a sparrow
for a woman to gather my pieces
like shards of broken crystal


If I were promised safety,
if I could meet the Sultan
I would say to him: O my lord the Sultan!
my cloak has been torn by your ravenous dogs,
your spies are following me all the time.
Their eyes
their noses
their feet are chasing me
like destiny, like fate
They interrogate my wife
and write down all the names of my friends.
O Sultan!
Because I dare to approach your deaf walls,
because I tried to reveal my sadness and
I was beaten with my shoes.
O my lord the Sultan!
you have lost the war twice
because half our people
has no tongue.


The last walls of shame fell,
And we rejoiced…
And we danced…
And we were blessed with the signing of the peace of the cowards…
Nothing terrifies us any more.
And nothing shames us.
For the veins of pride have dried within us.

-For the fiftieth time-our virginity…
Without being shaken…or crying…
Or being terrified with the sight of blood…
We entered the age of haste…
And stood in lines, like sheep before the guillotine
We ran…and panted..
And raced to kiss the boots of the murderers..

For fifty years they starved our children
And at the end of the fast, they threw to us…
An onion..

Grenada fell
-For the fiftieth time-
From the Arabs’ hands.
History fell from the Arabs’ hands.
The pillars of the spirit fell…and the branches of the tribe…
All the songs of heroism fell…
Seville fell…
Antioch fell…
`Ammoriah fell.
Hittin fell without a fight.
Mary fell in the hands of the militias
And there is no man to rescue the heavenly symbol
And there is no manliness…

The last of our favorites fell
In the hands of the Romans, then what are we defending?
Not a single concubine remains in our palace…
Who makes coffee… and sex…
Then what are we defending??

No more remains in our hands…
A single Andulus that we possess.
They stole the doors,
And the walls,
And the wives, and the children,
And the olives, and the oil,
And the streets’ cobbles.
They stole Jesus, son of Mary,
While he was still a suckling.
They stole from us the memory of the lemons…
And the apricots… and the mint.
And the lanterns of the mosques…

They left in our hands a can of sardines
Named (Gaza)…
A dried bone called (Jericho)
An inn called Palestine,
Without a roof and without pillars…
They left us a body without bones
And a hand without fingers…

There remain no ruins over which we cry
How can a nation cry…
From whom they took away the tears??

After this secret flirtation, in Oslo
We came out barren…
They granted us a homeland smaller than a grain of wheat…
A homeland we swallow without water
Like pills of aspirin!!…

After fifty years…
We sit now, on the destroyed land.
We have no shelter… like thousands of dogs!!…

After fifty years…
We do not find a homeland to dwell in
Except the mirage.
It is not a reconciliation…
That reconciliation which, like a dagger, was thrust into us…
It is an act of rape!!..

What use is the haste?
What use is the haste?
When the conscience of the people remains alive
Like the fuse of a bomb…
All the signatures of Oslo will not equal
A mustard seed!!…

How we dreamed of a green peace.
And a white crescent.
And a blue sea.
And spread sails…
And all of a sudden we found ourselves
In a dung heap!!..

Who will ask them
About the peace of the cowards??
Not the peace of the strong and able.
Who will ask them??
About the peace of selling by installments,
And renting by installments…
And the deals…
And the merchants… and the exploiters?
Who will ask them?
About the peace of the dead…
They silenced the street…
And assassinated all questions…
And all the questioners…

And we were married without love…
To the female who one day ate our children…
And chewed our livers…
We took her on a honeymoon.
And we drank… and we danced…
And we remembered all that we retain of the love poetry.
Then we begot-unfortunately-retarded children
They have the form of frogs…
And we were expelled to the sidewalks of sorrow,
without a country to embrace…
Or a child!!

There was no Arab dancing at the wedding
Or Arab food.
Or Arab singing.
Or Arab shame
The sons of the country were absent from the wedding parade.

Half of the dowry was in dollars…
The diamond ring was in dollars…
The court clerk’s fee was in dollars…
The wedding cake was a gift from America…
And the wedding spread, and the flowers, and the candles,
And the Marines’ music…
All were made in America.

The wedding was finished… and Palestine was not present at the
But she saw her picture broadcasted over all channels…
And saw her tear traversing the ocean’s waves…
Towards Chicago… and Jersey… and Miami
While like a slaughtered bird she cried
This wedding is not my wedding…
This dress is not my dress…
This shame is not my shame…
Never… America…
Never… America…
Never… America…


The face of Qana
Pale, like that of Jesus
and the sea breeze of April…
Rains of blood.. and tears..

They entered Qana stepping on our charred bodies
Raising a Nazi flag
in the lands of the South
and rehearsing its stormy chapters
Hitler cremated them in the gas chambers
and they came after him to burn us
Hitler kicked them out of Eastern Europe
and they kicked us out of our lands

They entered Qana
Like hungry wolves
Putting to fire the house of the Messiah
Stepping on the dress of Hussain
and the dear land of the South

Blasted Wheat, Olive-trees and Tobacco
and the melodies of the nightingale
Blasted Cadmus in his bark
Blasted sea and the gulls
Blasted even hospitals
even nursing moms
and schoolboys
Blasted the beauty of the Southern women
and murdered the gardens of the honeyed eyes

We saw the tears in Ali’s eyes
We heard his voice as he prayed
under the rain of bloody skies

Who ever will write about the history of Qana
Will inscribe in his parchments
This was the second Karbala

Qana unveiled what was hidden
We saw America
Wearing the old coat of a Jewish Rabbi
Leading the slaughter
Blasting our children for no reason
Blasting our wives for no reason
Blasting our trees for no reason
Blasting our thoughts for no reason
Has it been decreed in her constitution,
She, America, mistress of the world,
In Hebrew .. that she should humble us al-Arab?

Has it been decreed that each time a ruler in America
wants to win the presidency that he should kill us ..
We al Arab?

We waited for one Arab to come
pull this thorny prick from our necks
We waited for single Qureishite
A single Hashemite
A single Don Quixote
A single local hero, for whom they did not shave the moustache
We waited for a Khalid .. Tariq .. or Antara
We were eaten chatter (while engaged in vain talk)
They sent a fax
We read its text
after paying tribute
and the end of the slaughter

What does Israel fear from our cries?
What does she fear from our faxes?
The Jihad of the fax is the weakest of Jihads
It is a single text we write
for all the martyrs who left
and all the martyrs those who will come

What does Israel fear from Ibn al-Muqaffa’?
Jarir and .. Farazdaq?
And Khansa throwing her poems at the gates of the cemetery
What does she fear if we burn tires
Sign communiqués
And destroy shops
And she knows that we have never been kings of war
But were kings of chatters

What does Israel fear
from the beating of the drums
the tearing of clothes
and the scratching of cheeks
What does she fear
when she hears
the stories of `Ad and Thamud?

We are in national comma
We did not receive
Since the times of conquest
a single mail

We are a people of made of dough
The more Israel increases in her killing and terrorism
the more we increase in idleness and coldness

A Smothering Dominion
A regional dialect that increases in ugliness
and a green union that grows in isolation
Summer trees, growing barren
And borders .. whenever the whim strikes
erase other borders

Israel should slaughter us, and why not?
She should erase Hisham, Ziyad and ar-Rashid, and why not?
[Why not?] and the Banu Taghlab lusting after their women
[Why not?] and Banu Mazen lusting after their slave boys
[Why not?] and Banu Adnan dropping their trousers to their knees
debating .. necking and .. the lips!

What should Israel fear from some of al-Arab
When they became Yehuda???


O pupils of Gaza . .
Teach us . . .
A little of what you have
For we have forgotten . . .
Teach us . .
To be men
For we have men . .
dough they become . . .
Teach us . .
How the rocks become
in the children’s hands,
precious diamond . .
How it becomes
The child’s bicycle, a mine
And the silk ribbon . .
An ambush . .
How the feeding bottle nipple . .
If detained not
Turns into a knife . . . .
O pupils of Gaza
Care not . .
about our broadcasts . .
And hear us not . .
Strike . .
Strike . . .
With all your powers
And firmly in your hands take matters
And ask us not . .
We the people of arithmetic . .
And of addition . .
And of subtraction . .
Your wars do carry on
And abstain from us . .
We’re the deserters
from the service,
Your ropes do bring
And hang us . . .
We’re mortals . .
Who possess not tombs
And orphans . .
who possess not masters
We kept already to our rooms . .
And we asked you
To fight the dragon . .
We’ve diminished, before you
A thousand century . .
And you’ve grown
-Within a month-Centuries . .
O pupils of Gaza . .
Return not . .
To our writings . .
And read us not..
We’re your fathers . .
Do resemble us not . .
We’re your idols . .
Do worship us not . .
We engage in
Political lies . .
And repression . .
And we build graves . .
And jails . .
Liberate us . .
From the fear problem in us . .
And expel
The opium from our heads . .
Teach us . .
The art of adherence to the Land,
And leave not . .
The Messiah saddened . .
O our beloved children
Salam . .
May Allah render your day
Jasmine . . .
From the cracks of ruined earth
You emerged forth
And planted in our wound
Musk rose . .
This is the revolution of notebooks . .
And ink . .
Do become on the lips
melodies . .
Shower us . .
Heroism, and pride
And from our ugliness wash us
Wash us . .
Fear neither Moses. .
Nor Moses’ spell . .
And ready yourself
To harvest the olives
Verily this Jewish age
is an illusion . .
That shall collapse . .
Albeit sureness we possess . . .
O madmen of Gaza . .
A thousand welcome . . .
in madmen,
If they liberate us
Verily the age of political reason
has long bygone . . .
Do teach us madness . . .


Let me find time
to welcome in this love
that comes unbid.
Let me find time
to memorize
this face that rises
out of the trees
of forgetfulness.
Give me the time
to escape this love
that stops my blood.
Let me find time
to recognize your name,
my name,
and the place
where I was born.
Let me find time
to know where I shall die
and how I will revive, as
a bird inside your eyes.
Let me find time
to study the state of winds
and waves, to learn the maps
of bays. . .

Woman, who lodges
inside the future
pepper and pomegranate-seeds,
give me a country
to make me forget all countries,
and give me time
to avoid this Andalusian face,
this Andalusian voice,
this Andalusian death
coming from all directions.
Let me find time to prophesy
the coming of the flood.

Woman, who was inscribed
in books of magic,
before you came
the world was prose.
Now poetry is born.
Give me the time to catch
the colt that runs toward me,
your breast.
The dot over a line.
A bedouin breast, sweet
as cardamom seeds
as coffee brewing over embers,
its form ancient as Damascene brass
as Egyptian temples.

Let me find luck
to pick the fish that swim
under the waters.

Your feet on the carpet
are the shape and stance
of poetry.

Let me find the luck
to know the dividing line
between the certainty
of love and heresy.
Give me the opportunity
to be convinced I have seen
the star, and have been spoken to
by saints.

Woman, whose thighs are like
the desert palm where golden
dates fall from,
your breasts speak seven tongues
and I was made to listen
to them all.
Give me the chance
to avoid this storm,
this sweeping love,
this wintry air, and to be convinced,
to blaspheme, and to enter
the flesh of things.
Give me the chance
to be the one
to walk on water.


The old word is dead.
The old books are dead.
Our speech with holes like worn-out shoes is dead.
Dead is the mind that led to defeat.

Our poetry has gone sour.
Women’s hair, nights, curtains and sofas
Have gone sour.
Everything has gone sour.

My grieved country,
In a flash
You changed me from a poet who wrote love poems
To a poet who writes with a knife

What we feel is beyond words:
We should be ashamed of our poems.

Stirred by Oriental bombast,
By boastful swaggering that never killed a fly,
By the fiddle and the drum,
We went to war,
And lost.

Our shouting is louder than our actions,
Our swords are taller than us,
This is our tragedy.

In short
We wear the cape of civilisation
But our souls live in the stone age

You dont win a war
With a reed and a flute.

Our impatience
Cost us fifty thousand new tents.

Dont curse heaven
If it abandons you,
Dont curse circumstances,
God gives victory to whom He wishes
God is not a blacksmith to beat swords.

It’s painful to listen to the news in the morning
It’s painful to listen to the barking of dogs.

Our enemies did not cross our borders
They crept through our weaknesses like ants.

Five thousand years
Growing beards
In our caves.
Our currency is unknown,
Our eyes are a haven for flies.
Smash the doors,
Wash your brains,
Wash your clothes.
Read a book,
Write a book,
Grow words, pomegranates and grapes,
Sail to the country of fog and snow.
Nobody knows you exist in caves.
People take you for a breed of mongrels.

We are a thick-skinned people
With empty souls.
We spend our days practicing witchcraft,
Playing chess and sleeping.
Are we the ‘Nation by which God blessed mankind’?

Our desert oil could have become
Daggers of flame and fire.
We’re a disgrace to our noble ancestors:
We let our oil flow through the toes of whores.

We run wildly through the streets
Dragging people with ropes,
Smashing windows and locks.
We praise like frogs,
Turn midgets into heroes,
And heroes into scum:
We never stop and think.
In mosques
We crouch idly,
Write poems,
Beg God for victory
Over our enemy

If i knew I’d come to no harm,
And could see the Sultan,
This is what i would say:
Your wild dogs have torn my clothes
Your spies hound me
Their eyes hound me
Their noses hound me
Their feet hound me
They hound me like Fate
Interrogate my wife
And take down the name of my friends.
When I came close to your walls
and talked about my pains,
Your soldiers beat me with their boots,
Forced me to eat my shoes.
You lost two wars,
Half of our people are without tongues,
What’s the use of a poeple without tongues?
Half of our people
Are trapped like ants and rats
Between walls.’
If i knew I’d come to no harm
I’d tell him:
‘You lost two wars
You lost touch with children.’

If we hadn’t buried our unity
If we hadn’t ripped its young body with bayonets
If it had stayed in our eyes
The dogs wouldn’t have savaged our flesh.

We do not want an angry generation
To plough the sky
To blow up history
To blow up our thoughts.
We want a new generation
That does not forgive mistakes
That does not bend.
We want a generation of giants.

Arab children,
Corn ears of the future,
You will break our chains,
Kill the opium in our heads,
Kill the illusions.
Arab children,
Don’t read about our suffocated generation,
We are a hopeless case.
We are as worthless as a water-melon rind.
Dont read about us,
Dont ape us,
Dont accept us,
Dont accept our ideas,
We are a nation of crooks and jugglers.
Arab children,
Spring rain,
Corn ears of the future,
You are the generation
That will overcome defeat.


We are accused of terrorism
If we dare to write about the remains of a homeland
That is scattered in pieces and in decay
In decadence and disarray
About a homeland that is searching for a place
And about a nation that no longer has a face

About a homeland that has nothing left of its great ancient verse
But that of wailing and eulogy

About a homeland that has nothing in its horizons
Of freedoms of different types and ideology

About a homeland that forbids us from buying a newspaper
Or listen to anything
About a homeland where all birds are always not allowed to sing
About a homeland that out of horror, its writers are using invisible ink

About a homeland that resembles poetry in our country
Improvised, imported, loose and of no boundaries
Of foreign tongue and soul
Detached from Man and Land, ignoring their plight as a whole

About a homeland to the negotiating table moves
Without a dignity or shoes

About a homeland
That no more has steadfast men
With only women therein

Bitterness is in our mouthsin our talkin our eyes
Will draught also plague our souls as a legacy passed to us
from ancient times?

Our nation has nobody left, even the less glorified
No one to say ‘NO’ in the face of those who gave up our
homebread and butter
Turning our colorful history into a circus

We have not a single honest poem
That has not lost its virginity in a ruler’s Harem

We grew accustomed to humiliation
Then what is left of Man
If he is comfortable with that?

I search the books of history
For men of greatness to deliver us from darkness
To save our women from fires’ brutality

I search for men of yesterday
But all I find is frightened cats
Fearing for their souls
From the authority of rats

Are we hit by national blindness
Or are we suffering from color blindness

We are accused of terrorism
If we refuse to perish
Under Israeli tyranny
That is hampering our unity
Our history
Our Bible and our Quran
Our prophets’ land
If that is our sin and crime
Then terrorism is fine

We are accused of terrorism
If we refuse to be wiped out
By barbarians, the Mongols or the Jews
If we choose to stone the fragile security council
Which was sacked by the king of caesuras

We are accused of terrorism
If we refuse to negotiate the wolf
And reach out for a whore

America is fighting the cultures of Man
Because it lacks one
And against the civilizations because it needs one
It is a gigantic structure but without a wall

We are accused of terrorism
If we refuse current times
Where America the arrogant the mighty the rich
Became a sworn interpreter of Hebrew.


When I love
I feel that I am the king of time
I possess the earth and everything on it
and ride into the sun upon my horse.

When I love
I become liquid light
invisible to the eye
and the poems in my notebooks
become fields of mimosa and poppy.

When I love
the water gushes from my fingers
grass grows on my tongue
when I love
I become time outside all time.

When I love a woman
all the trees
run barefoot toward me…


When I love you
A new language springs up,
New cities, new countries discovered.
The hours breathe like puppies,
Wheat grows between the pages of books,
Birds fly from your eyes with tiding of honey,
Caravans ride from your breasts carrying Indian herbs,
The mangoes fall all around, the forests catch fire
And Nubian drums beat.

When I love you your breasts shake off their shame,
Turn into lightning and thunder, a sword, a sandy storm.
When I love you the Arab cities leap up and demonstrate
Against the ages of repression
And the ages
Of revenge against the laws of the tribe.
And I, when I love you,
March against ugliness,
Against the kings of salt,
Against the institutionalization of the desert.
And I shall continue to love you until the world flood arrives;
I shall continue to love you until the world flood arrives.


He lets me listen, when he moves me,
Words are not like other words
He takes me, from under my arms
He plants me, in a distant cloud
And the black rain in my eyes
Falls in torrents, torrents
He carries me with him, he carries me
To an evening of perfumed balconies

And I am like a child in his hands
Like a feather carried by the wind
He carries for me seven moons in his hands
and a bundle of songs
He gives me sun, he gives me summer
and flocks of swallows
He tells me that I am his treasure
And that I am equal to thousands of stars
And that I am treasure, and that I am
more beautiful than he has seen of paintings
He tells me things that make me dizzy
that make me forget the dance and the steps

Words…which overturn my history
which make me a woman…in seconds
He builds castles of fantasies
which I live in…for seconds…
And I return…I return to my table
Nothing with me…
Nothing with me…except words

Heliotricity Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Qabbani Beirut mistress of the world


Nizar Qabbani Syrian poetry

Nizar Qabbani and Balqis Al Rawi

Nizar Qabbani wa Zaowgho

Poems of Nizar Qabbani in English

Qabbani day of my birth

Qabbani depth of your love

Qabbani don't worry my sweetest

Qabbani kissing the swords

Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani

Qabbani my lover asks me

The tomb of Nizar Qabbani in Syria

Heliotricity Reviews

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