Two Poems From Desert Songs by Yahia Lababidi

15 December, 2022

Desert Songs, Poetry by Yahia Lababidi
Translated from the Arabic by Osama Esber
Rowayat 2022



Image from “Solitude and the Proximity to Infinite Things,” Desert Songs by Yahia Lababidi (Rowayat, 2022).

Solitude and the Proximity to Infinite Things


The Desert is a cemetery
picking its teeth with
bones littered with brittle stones
marked by a grave air.

Mourning its myriad souls
it murmurs threnodies, while
winds scatter desert lament.





Desert, Revisited

under a whirling skirt of sky
streaming light and stars
groping for that tremendous hem
gingerly over quicksand

as though steadied
beneath some tongue and dissolving
not the absence of sound
but the presence of silence

or, as if transfixed
by a gaze, stern-serene
surveying a dream

incorruptible starting point
inviolable horizon
where eye and mind are free
to meditate perfection

there, begin to uncover
buried in dust and disinterest
the immutable letter
(first of the alphabet) Alif

under the ever-watchful eye:
fearsome sun, forgiving moon
bless the magnificent hand
all else is blasphemy, a lie

experience quietude
the maturity of ecstasy
longing to utter
the unutterable Name

only striving supreme or pure
can ever hope to endure
the absolute face
the awesome embrace.

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