Wednesday, March 8, 2023

We would break the jar of the night

A few weeks ago, I read an anthology of modern Sudanese poetry. A lot of the poetry was about Sudanese history, ancient and more modern, and did not mean as much to me as I wish it had. Alas, my ignorance. Even so, there was a lot of pure poetry in the poems, and so I offer up what were, to me, some of the most striking images. If I have time, I'll go back and list the individual poets, which would be only right and proper.
He died there, 
on a heap of debris. 
From our parents' mouths we were fed flaming songs
full of perseverance and promise,
that one day we will come back to you, Saai,
to rebuild our shacks and alleys
O incomer, 
We have nothing to offer;
We are in the background of the picture: a light or a color;
An ebony frame embroidered with carvings and decorations.

Wait for me;
for I am traveling at night too,
alone, setting off on a long journey.
In the remote passageways wait for me.
In the desert highlands and by the sea
wait for me.
In the flapping of wings
and the routes of the migrating birds,
when the orbits collapse
and the sky grows gloomy and dark,
wait for me.
An ark, pregnant with all our weaknesses
and longing for our old new land.
how the angel and the Virgin embraced,
under the ceilings of fire
and the street's din and dust--
and then they parted:
to his heaven, and to her subdued body
We would break the jar of the night,
sprinkle the fragments on the shore, 
and disturb the serenity
of the Nile,
the pebble,
and the sand.
Under a hat the hollow color of a Tuesday
Every day I get more convinced
that I am a matchstick.
I have consumed all stocks of patience and tolerance,
I have spared nothing for the days to come, 
because I thought you were my last destination.

O thunderstorm: come die inside me.

I must pass through the town dogs,
the morning music,
and gunfire,
to inscribe this poem on the trunk of the mango tree.

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