Advent poems 13: from Midnight by Mourid Barghouti

To the victorious
I will send an unsettling message
and these simple questions:
something gives me reason to doubt.
All the gods of Olympus
support you,
They receive their orders according to your desires,
they point their arrows in whatever direction you point,
the earth revolves according to your wish.
Triumph is your vocation,
every war against us raises you higher and higher
while throwing us down to our fate
like cypress branches in the darkness of a fireplace.
Everything you build lasts and expands,
while what we build is carried away by elegies.
We are destined for the grave
while your hands are destined for the champagne of triumph.
Anyone on your list
is a dead man:
die, and he dies.
victory has become your daily routine
like your morning toast.
Why, then, this hysteria?
Why do I not see you dancing?
How much victory do you need to be victorious?
something makes me suspicious.
What, at the climax of your victory, is it
that makes you so scared?

Mourid Barghouti, translated by Radwa Ashour, from Midnight and Other Poems, Arc Publications, 2008.


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