RAIN SONG

by: Badr Shakir al-Sayyab

Translated by: Lena jayyusi and Christopher Middleton

Your eyes are two palm tree forests in early light,
Or two balconies from which the moonlight recedes
When they smile, your eyes, the vines put forth their leaves,
And lights dance . . . like moons in a river
Rippled by the blade of an oar at break of day;
As if stars were throbbing in the depths of them . . .

And they drown in a mist of sorrow translucent
Like the sea stroked by the hand of nightfall;

The warmth of winter is in it, the shudder of autumn,
And death and birth, darkness and light;
A sobbing flares up to tremble in my soul
And a savage elation embracing the sky,
Frenzy of a child frightened by the moon.

It is as if archways of mist drank the clouds
And drop by drop dissolved in the rain . . .
As if children snickered in the vineyard bowers,

The song of the rain
Rippled the silence of birds in the trees . . .
Drop, drop, the rain
Drip

Drop the rain

Evening yawned, from low clouds

Heavy tears are streaming still.
It is as if a child before sleep were rambling on
About his mother (a year ago he went to wake her, did not find her,
Then was told, for he kept on asking,
“After tomorrow, she’ll come back again . . .
That she must come back again,

Yet his playmates whisper that she is there
In the hillside, sleeping her death for ever,
Eating the earth around her, drinking the rain;
As if a forlorn fisherman gathering nets
Cursed the waters and fate
And scattered a song at moonset,
Drip, drop, the rain
Drip, drop, the rain
Do you know what sorrow the rain can inspire?

Do you know how gutters weep when it pours down?

Do you know how lost a solitary person feels in the rain?
Endless, like spilt blood, like hungry people, like love,
Like children, like the dead, endless the rain.
Your two eyes take me wandering with the rain,
Lightning’s from across the Gulf sweep the shores of Iraq
With stars and shells,
As if a dawn were about to break from them, But night pulls over them a coverlet of blood. I cry out to the Gulf: “O Gulf,
Giver of pearls, shells and death!”
And the echo replies,
As if lamenting:
“O Gulf,
Giver of shells and death .

I can almost hear Iraq husbanding the thunder,
Storing lightning in the mountains and plains,
So that if the seal were broken by men
The winds would leave in the valley not a trace of Thamud.
I can almost hear the palmtrees drinking the rain,
Hear the villages moaning and emigrants
With oar and sail fighting the Gulf
Winds of storm and thunder, singing
“Rain . . . rain . . .

Drip, drop, the rain . . .
And there is hunger in Iraq,

The harvest time scatters the grain in-it,

That crows and locusts may gobble their fill,
Granaries and stones grind on and on,

Mills turn in the fields, with them men turning . . .
Drip, drop, the rain . . .

Drip
Drop
When came the night for leaving, how many tears we shed,

We made the rain a pretext, not wishing to be blamed
Drip, drop, the rain

Drip, drop, the rain

Since we had been children, the sky

Would be clouded in wintertime,

And down would pour the rain,
And every year when earth turned green the hunger struck us.
Not a year has passed without hunger in Iraq.
Rain . . .
Drip, drop, the rain . . .
Drip, drop . . .
In every drop of rain
A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.

Drip…..
Drop….. the rain . . .In the rain.
Iraq will blossom one day ‘

I cry out to the Gulf: “O Gulf,
Giver of pearls, shells and death!”

The echo replies
As if lamenting:
‘O Gulf,
Giver of shells and death.”
And across the sands from among its lavish gifts
The Gulf scatters fuming froth and shells
And the skeletons of miserable drowned emigrants

Who drank death forever
From the depths of the Gulf, from the ground of its silence,
And in Iraq a thousand serpents drink the nectar
From a flower the Euphrates has nourished with dew.

I hear the echo
Ringing in the Gulf:
“Rain . . .
Drip, drop, the rain . . .
Drip, drop.”

In every drop of rain
A red or yellow color buds from the seeds of flowers.
Every tear wept by the hungry and naked people
And every spilt drop of slaves’ blood
Is a smile aimed at a new dawn,
A nipple turning rosy in an infant’s lips
In the young world of tomorrow, bringer of life.

And still the rain pours down.

One Comment on “RAIN SONG”

  1. July 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    I really like your writing style, good info, regards for posting :D. “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk” by Laurence J. Peter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 446 other followers

%d bloggers like this: