I am not asleep or awake,
but the enchanting dream dazzles me.
The same dream interrupts every waking and every sleep.
A caravan stows away fire in its carriages and rolls over the buts to widen the road. Whenever I focus my eye on something, it changes,
taking the form of volcanoes
The woman loosens her leopard behind me and I can't distinguish the hunter from the prey.
I see children full of femininity emerging from trees
and behind me the reckless river gushes and the volcanoes erupt, shocked.
A thread of angels leads me.
This is for you.
Do not open your eyes and do not doze off like so,
you are not asleep and not awake.
And almost in embers of joy I am full of questions: is the wind the bed of my feet, am I dancing,
or does the night vigil take my feet on the road?
Am I walking in hellfire or paradise, and is land the space?
An enchanting dream, while I am in its outer limits, not asleep or awake.
BASSAM K FRANGIEH
is Professor of Arabic at Yale University, USA, and au thor of several books, including Alien atien and fhr Palestinian Novel (Arabic). He has translated leading Arab Poets and novelists into English.