From Al-Zahara

Ibn Zaydun
Arab Andalusian
1003 – 1071

 

With passion from this place
I remember you.
Horizon clear, limpid

The face of earth, and wind,
Come twilight, desists,
A tenderness sweeps me

When I see the silver.
Coiling waterways
Like necklaces detached

From throats. Delicious those
Days we spent while fate
Slept. There was peace, I mean,

And us, thieves of pleasure.
Now only flowers
Withfrost bent stems I see;

At my eyes their vivid
Centers pull, they gaze
Back at me, seeing me

Without sleep, and a light
Flickers through their cups,
In sympathy, I think.

The sun-baked rose-buds in
Bushes, remember
How their color had lit

Our morning air; and still
Breaths of wind dispense
At break of day, as then,

Perfume they gather up
From waterlilies’
Half open drowsy eyes.

Such fresh memories
Of you these few things
Waken in my mind. For

Faraway as you are
In this passion’s grip
I persist with a sigh

And pine to be at one
With you. Please God no
Calm or oblivion

Will occupy my heart,
Or close it. Listen
To the shiver of wings

At your side—it is my
Desire, and still, still
I am shaking with it

Pure love we once exchanged,
It was an unfenced
Field and we ran there, free

Like horses. But alone
I now can lay claim
To have kept faith. You left,

Left this place. In sorrow
To be here again,
l am loving you.

Translation by Christopher Middleton & Leticia Garza-Falcón

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