Song

By Adonis b. 1930 Adonis

Translated By Khaled Mattawa

from “Elegy for the First Century

Bells on our eyelashes
and the death throes of words,
and I among fields of speech,
a knight on a horse made of dirt.
My lungs are my poetry, my eyes a book,
and I, under the skin of words,
on the beaming banks of foam,
a poet who sang  and died
leaving this singed elegy
before the faces of poets,
for birds at the edge of sky.

Adonis, “Song” from Selected Poems, translated by Khaled Mattawa. Copyright © 2010 by  Adonis. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.

Source: Selected Poems (Yale University Press, 2010)

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Poet Adonis b. 1930

POET’S REGION Middle East

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

Biography

Arab poet, translator, editor, and theorist Ali Ahmad Said Esber was the eldest of six children born to a family of farmers in Syria’s Al Qassabin village. Though they could not afford the cost of formal education, Adonis’s father taught his son to read and helped him memorize poems while he worked on the family farm. At fourteen, Adonis recited a poem to the president of Syria during his visit a neighboring town, after which . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Middle East

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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