In The Eye Of The Beholder: Tomorrow Is Close

This poem was written in Arabic by Dr. Salman Mahmoud, a university teacher at the Faculty of Architecture upon the painful massacre of Qana in 1996. After a couple of meetings I transferred these lines into Middle English, as I believe that the language of the Bible may have a stronger effect on well-educated readers, who the poem addresses.


Knowst not Qana, Beriz?
Thou mayst know Quana, thou mayst not,
Though it seemth thou knowst not.
For thee glory cometh not through legitimate ways,
And corses fill not vote boxes with nays.
Sith juice cometh forth when grapes are heated,
Thereof thou holdst fire for pitches to be reached:
Thou showerst people with live coal;
Thou throwst children into fire to make wine,
And not ere dawn thou dost cool.

Beriz, it seemth thou knowst not
That Christ to Qana did reach,
That pure wine from water he made,
That good morals people he did teach,
So that verity would reach the furthest beach.
Pure wine he made for people a sign,
And Qana a lesson to perpend he made.
His wine was a miracle for believers,
So white, so pure,


Calling forth for virtuous deeds.
Thy wine, Beriz, for cloak-like people is intoxicating,
A deadly poison,
Bereaving mothers of their breed.
Here is thine. There was Christ’s wine.
Thine could the French wine
In the climature compete.
His is unfollowed,
A liqueur full of the incense
For souls to redeem.
Here is thine. There was Christ’s wine.

1996

Corses: corpses Perpend: consider
Nays: Nos (rejection) Climature: region
Sith: since Unfollowed: matchless
Pitches: high places Verity: truthfulness
Ere: before

by Montazar AnNayef

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