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Visionary Eulogy (part 4)

Suppose you are a mutilated idea
Floating in the kingdom of Air
Arranged by coincidence
To redeem yourself from hell fire . . .
Suppose your dreams have, forever, forsaken you
When, all at once you dreamed them
With no prior notice or time limit . . .
Suppose Lorca offered you
The wild mint of paper
On a furious civil war night
Will the wild mint then
Have the self-same malice of beautiful roses
On the coffin of jasmin?
Suppose Al Khanssa’
Tore  up grievously the bosom of her femininty
And the eagles of her anguish fell to pieces as did Sakhr, her brother.
Will the distressed bands of sand
Send forth the same inevitable wailing
When the pigeon coos in tears
mending the patches of pain?

Translator's Note: Al Khanssa’ is an Arab poetess who lived in Arabia in the 7th century, witnessing the country’s transition from a pre-Islamic culture to an Islamic one. She was the most brilliant and remarkable woman of her age. Her real name is Tomadir Bint Amre al-Sharid, but because of her slenderness she was called al-Khanssa’, ‘the gazelle’. For much of her life she lamented the death of her brother Sakhr, who was killed in a tribal feud. His death was the pivotal event that made al-Khansa’ a great poetess.