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أمل دنقل - مصر

Amal Donkul - Egypt


The Coming Testament


Chapter I


In the beginning I was man, woman and tree

I was father, son and holy ghost

I was morning, evening and the circular fixed gaze

My throne was stones on the banks of river

Sheep grazed

Bees buzzed around blossoms

Geese floated in silence lake

And life throbbed like a distant mill

When I saw:

That all I see can't save the heart from boredom

(Cockfights were my one entertainment

In my lonely seat among entangled branches)


Chapter II


I said to myself:

If I go down to the water and wash, I will split

(If I split, I will double...and I smiled)

After I bathed

From Lips' heat

Blossoms wove themselves into a shawl with which

I wrapped my shivering body

(My throne floating like an ark)

A sparrow fluttered to my head

And, alighting, shook off its dew

I gazed in the water's depth

I gazed

And saw my face adorned with a thom-wreath


Chapter III


I said:

Let love be on earth, and it was not

I said:

Let river dissolve into ocean

Ocean into drought

Drought into fertility

Sprouting bread to sustain hungry hearts

Grass for the earth's cattle

Shade for exiles in sorrow's desert

I saw the son of Adam

Raising his fences around God's personal farm

Shopping for border guards

Selling bread and water to his brethren

Milking lean cows

I said:

Let love be on earth, and it was not

Love was now possessed

By those who could afford the price

And God saw this was not good

I said:

Let justice be on earth

An eye for an eye

A tooth for a tooth

I said:

Does the wolf devour the wolf?

The goat devour the goat?

Don't brandish the sword against the necks of these two:

The child or the old man

And I came to see the son of Adam

Slaughtering the son of Adam

Setting cities ablaze

Planting his dagger in the bellies of pregnant women

Giving his children's fmgers as fodder to horses

Decorating victory banquet with rosettes of severed lips

Justice become death

The gun its measure

Its children crucified in public squares and city street corners

I said:

Let justice be on earth

But it was not

Justice was now possessed

By figures seated on thrones of skulls

With shrouds for mantles

And God saw this was not good

I said:

Let reason be on earth

With its measured voice

I said:

Do birds build nests in a snake's mouth?

Do worms live in fiery flames?

Does the owl paint its eye-lashes black with Kohl?

Is salt strewn when wheat is intended

In the run of time's wheel?

I saw the son of Adam go mad:

Uprooting tall trees

Spitting in wells

Spilling oil on the face river's face

Living in a house while storing a deadly bomb

Under the sill

Giving shelter to scorpions in the warmth of his ribs

Bequeathing to his descendants

His faith

His name

His shirt of strife

Reason become an exiled beggar

Stoned by brats

Arrested by border guards

His patriotic identity invalidated by governments

His name listed among those who hate their homeland

I said:

Let reason be on earth

But it was not

Reason fell apart in a spiral of exile and prison

Until it went mad

And God saw this was not good


Chapter IV


I said:

Let the wind be on earth to sweep this rot clean

I said:

Let be wind and blood

The wind uprooting the rustling of tenacious leaf

The blood reaching roots to purify and fertilize

Ascending the stalk

Entangled leaves

Hanging fruit

That they be pressed into wine

Trilling in jugs

I said:

Let the blood turn into a river of honey

Flowing through the gardens of Eden

Earth is beauty

Embellished by the poor

For them

It perfumes itself

They give it love

It gives them progeny and pride

I said:

The rich shall not dwell in it

The rich who mint from the sweat of laborers

Adulterous coins

Crown jewels

Ivory earrings

And hypocritic rosaries

For I am the forebear of the poor who live apart

Dying and counting on me for solace

I said:

Let the earth be for them and for me

(As I am one of them)

When I take off my heavenly garments

I am sanctified

In hunger's scream on a rude bed


Chapter V


I gazed at the stones and the spring

I saw my face in hunger's contours

I gazed at my forehead upside-down

I saw myself:

The cross and the crucified

I screamed

Emerging from the womb of bliss

I screamed

Pleading innocent

My being: My gallows

My umbilical cord: Its ruptured coil




The Book of Exodus


Chapter I


O ye standing on the edge of the massacre

Level your weapons

Death fell

The heart burst like a rosary

And blood flowed over the shawl

The houses are tombs

The prison-cells are tombs

The horizons are tombs

So raise your weapons

And follow me

I am the remorse of tomorrow and yesterday

My emblem: Two bones and a skull

My slogan: The morning


Chapter II


The tired clock struck

His good mother raised her eyes

(The muzzles of guns pushed him into the vehicle)

The tired clock struck

She got up and arranged his study

(A hand slapped him

God's hand led him into temptation)

The tired clock struck

His mother sat and mended his socks

(The interrogator's eyes pricked at him

Until his skin broke out in blood and answers)

The tired clock struck

The tired clock struck


Chapter III


When you descend on people's square

Don't give them your "Peace be with you"

Right now they awe carving up your kale ones on platters

Having set fire to the nest

The straw and the seed

Tomorrow they'll slaughter you

Looking for treasure in your gizzard

And tomorrow

Millennial cities turn info cities of tents

Cities climbing the looming guillotine's ladder


Chapter IV


The cruel clock struck

They stood in the sullen public squares

And circled the steps of the monument

Like trees ablaze

Among their tangled delicate foliage the wind blasted

Moaning ''My country, My country"

(My distant country)

The cruel clock struck

"Look" cried a belle

Lounging in a limousine with foreign plates

The second muttered:

"They will disband when the cold sets in

and when fatigue descends"

The cruel clock struck

In a cafe

A radio was broadcasting patchwork speeches

On riot-mongers

As they circled

Flaming on the petrified cake around the monument:

A candlestick of anger glowing at night

Voices flushing out whatever gloom remained

Chanting for the birthright of a new Egypt


Chapter V


Remember me

The headlines in treacherous newspapers

Smeared me

Colored me

For I have been colorless since the defeat

(Except for the color of loss)

Before which I used to read the face of the sand

(Sand become like hard currency

Sand turned into mats

Beneath the feet of the Defense Army)

So remember me

As you would a smuggler

A sentimental singer

A colonel's cap

Or New Year's decoration

Remember me

When the eye-witnesses

When the minutes of Parliament

When the list of declared accusations have forgotten me


And farewell


Chapter Vl


The clock struck five

Soldiers appeared:

A circle of shields and helmets

Here they come closer little by little

They come from every all direction

The chanters on the petrified cake

Ebbing and flowing like a throbbing of a heart

Inflaming throats

Warming themselves against the cold and gloom

Chanting hymns to approaching guards

Intertwining their tender wretched hands

Forming a fence against bullets




They chant:

"We shall redeem you O Egypt

We shall redeem..."

A silenced throat collapses

With it your name O Egypt collapses on the ground

Nothing remains but crushed body and screams

On the gloomy square

The clock struck five

It struck five

It struck five

Your water was scattered O River

When you reached your outlet

The houses are tombs

The prison-cells are tombs

The horizons are tombs

So raise the weapons


The weapons


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