XLIV from The Arab Apocalypse

By Etel Adnan b. 1925 Etel Adnan
Where do you want ghosts to reside?
In our wakeful hours there are flowers which produce nightmares
We burned continents of silence   the future of nations
the breathing of the fighters got thicker   became like oxen’s

there is in that breath sparkles of scorched flesh and the fainting of stars

we crucify Gilgamesh on a TANK Viking II reaches Mars
Imam Ali dances over a nuclear blast
cursed are the clouds which repel water
cursed are the Arabs who fell tall and haggard eucalyptus trees

Etel Adnan, “XLIV” 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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