That Evening

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.

Salah Abdel Sabour
1931 – 1981


You spoke to me
Of winged horse-shoes
Sparking all round,
Flashing, igniting
The golden crescents
Of city minarets;
You spoke to me
Of a bunch of swords hard,
Stuck in a rock so stark,
To be drawn only on a spell:
Namely, the names, the charmed names of
your bunch,
How great, how formidable,
How good, how nice, how sweet – unconquerable!
‘O minstrel’, you ordered, ‘Sing us a song
‘(But keep your eyes down
‘In our presence)
‘Sing us a lay
‘To tickle our pride
‘In the victory of the side,
‘And when the appointed hour comes
‘(An hour unveiled
‘By a cloud dispelled)
‘We’ll drink up the dregs
‘When the devil’s helmet begs
‘To be a goblet bright
‘For the wine of superior knight’.


Translation by M.M. Enani

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