Abdelfattah Ben Hammouda
21st Century


I asked a gardener
He said: the plant… the plant of light
I asked a woodcutter
He said: the tree… the tree of light
I asked a farmer
He said: the flower… the flower of light
I asked a poet
He said: the word… the word of light
I asked a lover
She said: the kiss… the kiss of light

I asked them all
The scoundrels didn’t tell me about a leaf
that falls every day on the head of one of us
No one told me about the shiver
and the plants of the other world
where there exists the smooth stone of eternity
What kind of idiots are these people?
Their leaves fall every day on my head
while I am rocking them to their last resting place.

Translation by Miled Faiza and Karen McNeil