I want to write different words for you,
I want to write different words for you
To invent a language for you alone
To fit the size of your body
And the size of my love.
I want to travel away from the dictionary
And to leave my lips.
I am tired of my mouth
I want a different one
That can change
Into a cherry tree or a matchbox,
A mouth from which words can emerge
Like nymphs from the sea,
Like white chicks jumping from the magician’s hat.
Take all the books
That I read in my childhood,
Take all my school notebooks,
Take the chalk,
And the blackboards,
But teach me a new word
To hang like an earring
On my lover’s ear.
I want other fingers
To write another way.
For I hate fingers that are not too long or too short
As I hate trees that neither die nor grow.
I want new fingers
Raised high as ship-masts
Long as a giraffe's neck
So I can tailor a poetry-garment for my love
That she never wore before me.
I want to fashion you an alphabet
Different from all the alphabets,
Comprising rhythms of the rain,
The dust of the moon
The sadness of grey clouds
And the aching of the willow-leaves
Breaking beneath September's carriage wheels.
trans. Bassam Frangieh and Clementina Brown