Baghdad Emergency Meeting : poem by Qatari poet Abdulla Al Salem

Emergency Meeting

Emergency Meeting Baghdad

Baghdad, be patient.  What’s the rush?

We’ll come solve the problem.

We’ve never forgotten you;

We’ve just been busy with related tales.

When we called an emergency Meeting at a moment’s notice,

We were caught off guard by God Almighty:

The date conflicted with Elephant’s Day.

For your sake, we bore the brunt

And showed ourselves icons of self-sacrifice.

So we met, despite pressing concerns,

Abandoned the blithe world,

And convened the initial session harmoniously,

But quarreled over the opening prayer,

Because it was religious and might

Excite divisiveness.

We were forced to examine the fantasies that

Some peoples might nourish

And what others might use as

Propaganda, a rebellion, or a bomb.

For your sake, we bore the brunt

And showed ourselves icons of self-sacrifice.

Then some of us yielded to others;

So we surmounted our differences on this subject

And moved on, a few days later, to

Another issue that created a stir.

We had earmarked a reasonable sum

To cover our reasonable attack

But fell out over counting it: in

Pennies or raindrops?

For your sake we bore the brunt

And surmounted our differences on the subject.

Then we passed a revolutionary manifesto

Rejecting the military aggression and any attempt to justify it.

(When our enemies read this tract,

Their lands will react explosively.)

We differed, however, on a release date

And agreed not to release it.

Be patient, Baghdad, because we’re a nation suffering

From grievous wounds.

We hadn’t concluded our funeral

For a martyr assassins betrayed

When we were outraged that Mira had been excluded

From competition in future episodes.

This turn of events is of such questionable legality

That a separate session will be devoted to it.

Baghdad, we form a single body, and

Should any member object, we’ll amputate it.

That’s why in desolate corridors of the Diaspora

Severed members curse us.

So be very calm till they’re dealt with

While we’re obliged to look the other way.

Tomorrow, if history thinks ill of us,

We’ll concoct some phony tale.

Be silent in a seemly way, Baghdad,

About shameful rituals of forced entry

And expose your massive privates to them

Along with other used goods.

If they need a theater for wickedness,

Kneel when the rabble rise

April 2004

Tabarbour, Jordan


Arabic poetry , poem by Abdulla Al Salem
Baghdad Emergency meeting is Translated by William M. Hutchins

النص الأصلي

Abdullah Al-salem
Abdullah Al-salem
Blogger critic poet from Qatar

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