In Spite (Nizar Qabbani)

In Spite

1961
by Nizar Qabbani 

 

In spite of all our conflicts
and all our resolutions
that we can’t make it work,
in spite of the animosity,
the obstinacy
and inhibitions,
in spite of the absence of our smiles
and the lack of communication,
there must be a mystery
that unifies our destinies –
brings our footsteps closer
and blends you into me,
melting your warm hands with mine.
*
In spite of all our differences,
our unmatched temperaments,
the dark days of detachment
and the retrieval of all the gifts and photographs –
in spite of the dreariness,
I still believe
that destiny insists
on our togetherness
and rejects
all our arguments
*
In spite of the autumn of our relationship
and the bleeding going deep inside us,
in spite of our persistence
to put an end to our drama
at any cost,
in spite of our determination
that I won’t
and you won’t –
I doubt that we can.
In spite of all these conflicts,
we are helpless
in the face of our fate.

How alike we are
in our spirits,
in our thoughts,
and even in our books and colours.
Isn’t all of this
profound evidence
that we are friends of the same destiny,
traveling the same road
despite all our insanities?

 

Bibliography

Qabbānī, Nizār, Nayef Al-Kalali, and Lisa Kavchak. “In Spite.” Republic of Love: Selected Poems in English and Arabic. London: Kegan Paul International, 2003. 40-45. Print.

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Thơ về Sài Gòn

Hôm nay tự nhiên đọc được bài thơ này trên Tuổi Trẻ Online. Đơn giản, nhưng rất Sài Gòn – nắng, bụi, mưa, đông đúc, và những hàng ăn đêm…

Sài Gòn

NGÔ LIÊM KHOAN

 

Sài Gòn nắng đến độ
Em phủ kín khẩu trang
Ta chỉ còn biết yêu đôi mắt

Sài Gòn mưa đến độ
Ta chưa kịp xòe ô
Em đã về nhà ai ướt áo

Sài Gòn bụi đến độ
Ta lạc mất mùi nhau
Sau một chiều kẹt xe vô cớ

Sài Gòn đông đến độ
Có quá nhiều dáng người
Ta sửng sốt… là em

Sài Gòn rộng đến độ
Mười năm ta xa nhau
Chưa một lần gặp em tình cờ trên phố

Sài Gòn vui đến độ
Ta không còn đủ buồn
Để đi hết những quán đêm

 

Lời Vĩnh Biệt

 

Ta hái đi một nhành cây thạch thảo

Em nhớ cho mùa thu đã chết rồi

Chúng ta sẽ không tao phùng được nữa

Mộng trùng lai không có ở trên đời

Hương thời gian mùi thạch thảo bốc hơi

Và nhớ nhé ta đợi chờ em đó…

   – Apollinaire (Bùi Giáng dịch)

A Blessing (James Wright)

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth onto the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines (Pablo Neruda)

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.