XXXVI from The Arab Apocalypse

By Etel Adnan b. 1925 Etel Adnan
In the dark irritation of the eyes there is a snake hiding

In the exhalations of Americans there is a crumbling empire

In the foul waters of the rivers there are Palestinians

OUT OUT of its borders pain has a leash on its neck

In the wheat stalks there are insects vaccinated against bread

In the Arabian boats there are sharks shaken with laughter

In the camel’s belly there are blind highways

OUT OUT of TIME there is spring’s shattered hope

In the deluge on our plains there are no rains but stones

Etel Adnan, “XXXVI” from The Arab Apocalypse. Copyright © 1989 by Etel Adnan. Reprinted by permission of Post-Apollo Press.

Source: The Arab Apocalypse (The Post-Apollo Press, 1989)

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Poet Etel Adnan b. 1925

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Poet, essayist, and painter Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon. The daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, she spoke both Greek and Arabic with her parents, but French became her primary language upon enrolling in a French Lebanese Catholic school at the age of five. While working for the French Information Bureau, she attended at the Ecole Supérieure de Lettres de Beyrouth, where she composed her . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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