Thursday, December 27, 2012

If I Had Been Told

If I were told:
By evening you will die,
so what will you do until then?
I would look at my wristwatch,
I'd drink a glass of juice,
bite an apple,
contemplate at length an ant that has found its food,
then look at my wristwatch:

Then I'd comb my hair and throw away the poem . . .
this poem, in the trash,
and put on the latest fashion in Italian shirts,
parade myself in an entourage of Spanish violins,
and walk to the grave!

--Mahmoud Darwish, "Remainder of a Life"

Translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah

For Jerry Araos

and especially for his family as they prepare for his memorial program

if i had been told

your mortal struggle

& time on this accursed plain

was up

i would've

put on ravel's "bolero"

in my cd player

then raised my arms

towards the moon that rivered

your ears to mancini's tunes

i would've called out

to the moon the stars

the sun that shone

in an opposite hemisphere

the planets circling indifferently

around that grand globule of fire

& told them

here here

receive your honored guest 

he is no longer ours

he is now starry dust

if i had been told

your leave-taking

would happen

two nights before

the christ child's birth

i shouldn't even have

put up the tree

asked my own beloved

to fill the cupboards

with signs of plenty

to put on the table

more signs of prosperity

the cheese

the grapes

the oranges

the chestnuts

who eats ashes for breakfast anyway?

i felt them on my tongue

in my mouth
i felt them

sliding down my throat

along with the hot

choco that my stoic spouse

had prepared

as i sat on a monday seat

too stunned to let

tears fall into my cup

if i had been told

--Babeth Lolarga

Dec. 27, 2012

7:46 a.m.
 Photos of Araos garden in Antipolo and ginger flower inside the Araos residence taken by Babeth Lolarga, November 10, 2012
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