The following are translations of poems from Zahir Al Ghafri’s collection: “Whenever an Angel Appeared in the Fort”, (Beirut: 2008):
A Jewel in a Black Autumn
She didn't feel the rain
On the edge of her forelock
Nor did she feel the wind
That raised the laughter's ring
A little higher
Like the ring of an angel in the forest.
As if in another life.
She thought only of a chair behind the window
To rest on
And watch a man pass by
A man she can ask
To the bed of her desire
Lit by tears and flowers.
But you who pass by
At this moment
You're the victim
Dreaming of drowsiness and flower.
You who came from distant hills
In the night of despair
With two hands
Longing to swim in fancy's fountain.
You look for a jewel in a black autumn
You're the one chosen by chance
To cross the ordeal
To test the beauty sleeping there
Behind the lofty pillars of fog.
The Blaze of Signs
It happens only there!
That's what I said.
It happens only beneath a lonely and lofty tree.
Her face shines
Luminous like a saintly halo
Or a portrait from a mirror that can't be seen.
She talks to herself
As if between us a sea’s yearning
Yet the same agony!
Her talk crawls to the world's edges
On the rhythm of a magic breeze
Like a dream at midnight.
She talks about vice's flowers
In fantasy's wasteland
About the pain that leaves a trace
On doors and windows
About the secret's flash
In the face of a missing angel
About ladders circled by fire.
Is she asleep or are her eyes just closed?
I know not.
Her words flow
With all earth's signals
As if she looked for gold's glitter
In the bed of a mine.
Every sign from her head
Crowns an early and sure loss.
She calls me to her desert
Her ancestors' paradise
Surrounded by creation's lights
But I cannot.
The woman alone beneath the tree
My dreams are enclosed by a blaze of signs.
Where the Light Fell
The one who was never
When you knocked the door
That wouldn't open.
In your hand is despair's flower
You who've come from afar
From the mountains whose summits blaze
With travelers' fires
As if at this evening you're the rendezvous of the Resurrection.
Before the doors that won't open
You stand with the rose of death in your hand.
Listen to music
It's coming from your life's garden
From the threshold of hellfire till the last breath.
You're a different man now
For the word is your guide to the wasteland.
Where the light falls
Before doors that won't open
Let yourself be seen
While an angel baffled at the threshold
Carrying sins' rose
For your life is a lock and key
A myth and legend.
The boy who was
The boy who never was
Do you want more?