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English Poetry by Nezar AlSayyad

On Wisdom

(Translation from Arabic inspired by Khayyam)

Happiest is she who has no


Or he who accepts little

without anger or intensity

Among the rubble, they are

like a morning Blue Jay

Not an owl that screams at

night with all generosity.

Why is it that we always knock

the door of the unknown

And when it opens we cannot

even meet what is known?

How sad it is for a heart that

has not recovered

To be hit without cover, again

and so soon.

Oh, my sick body, pain has not

left you yet

Nor did I achieve my peace and

years passed.

The time has come and I am

still ignorant

Of the book of life and its lack

of intent.

My heart is like a prisoner in

my chest

How many times did my will

seek to destroy it?

But every time I tried, I was

always shied

By tomorrow’s call of what is to

come yet.

My heart has been tired of the

love of beauty

My chest has been exhausted

from the words of duty

Why is it God you so wish, and

still not grant my wish

All this water pouring in my

hands and I am ever thirsty.

Bahrain, January 20, 1995

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