Summer 2010: Of Note

I Will Command Them If They Listen

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Second Language (Summer 2010)

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By Allal El Hajjam

He woke up sad,
My little one, trembling
In the abyss of the new morning,
But with a spark of fire in his eyes.
The robins of dreams
Flew in his sky
Like a cry from a wound.

Then I asked him
About the secret of his tears:
About the one who frightens the flowers
And reviles the beautiful birdsongs
While taking the dawn hostage.
Do they set you aflame?

He answered: “War, oh father,
Is a night that devours the light.
It is a ghoul that ensnares children,
And birds,
And poets.
It is a fire that ignites raindrops.
So command them,
Father—command them
To go easy on the lute-strings,
So that their melodies rise
Up into the sky,
Green,
Magic,
With the hope that they will protect us
From the evil of the embers that
Glow on the horizon.”

I wiped the hot tears from his cheeks,
Whose fire was kindled by fear.
Then I kissed the vibration
Of the sound from his lips
And I said to him:
“I will command them— but
Will they listen?”

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