The Epic of Sadness-Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani

THE EPIC OF SADNESS

Your love taught me to grieve
and I have been in need, for centuries,
for a woman to make me grieve
for a woman, to cry upon her arms
like a sparrow
for a woman to gather my pieces
like shards of broken crystal

Your love has taught me, my lady, the worst habits
it has taught me to read my coffee cups
thousands of times a night
to experiment with alchemy,
to visit fortune tellers

It has taught me to leave my house
to comb the sidewalks
and search your face in raindrops
and in car lights
and to peruse your clothes
in the clothes of unknowns
and to search for your image
even…even…
even in the posters of advertisements

Your love has taught me
to wander around, for hours,
searching for a gypsy’s hair
that all gypsy women will envy
searching for a face, for a voice
which is all the faces and all the voices…

Your love entered me, my lady,
into the cities of sadness
and I before you, never entered
the cities of sadness
I did not know…
that tears are the person,
that a person without sadness
is only a shadow of a person…

Your love taught me
to behave like a boy
to draw your face with chalk
upon the wall,
upon the sails of fishermen’s boats
on the church bells, on the crucifixes,
your love taught me how love
changes the map of time…

Your love taught me
that when I love
the earth stops revolving,
your love taught me things
that were never accounted for

So I read children’s fairytales,
I entered the castles of genies
and I dreamt that she would marry me
the Sultan’s daughter
those eyes…
clearer than the water of a lagoon
those lips…
more desirable than the flower of pomegranates
and I dreamt that I would kidnap her like a knight
and I dreamt that I would give her
necklaces of pearl and coral

Your love taught me, my lady,
what is insanity
it taught me
how life may pass
without the Sultan’s daughter arriving

Your love taught me
how to love you in all things
in a bare winter tree,
in dry yellow leaves
in the rain, in a tempest,
in the smallest cafe we drank in,
in the evenings…our black coffee

Your love taught me
to seek refuge in hotels without names,
in churches without names,
in cafes without names

Your love taught me
how the night swells
the sadness of strangers,
it taught me how to see
Beirut as a woman…
a tyrant of temptation as a woman,
wearing every evening
the most beautiful clothes she possesses
and sprinkling upon her breasts perfume
for the fisherman, and the princes

Your love taught me how to cry without crying,
it taught me how sadness sleeps
like a boy with his feet cut off
in the streets of the Rouche and the Hamra

Your love taught me to grieve
and I have been in need, for centuries,
for a woman to make me grieve
for a woman, to cry upon her arms
like a sparrow
for a woman to gather my pieces
like shards of broken crystal.

-Syrian Poet: Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani.

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Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani 1923-1998

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Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with me @permabloom

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