Ali Ahmad Sa’id also known as Adonis is a Syrian poet. The country he speaks of in the first poem, “A Prophecy,” sounds so much like my own country. Maybe that’s why I cannot read the poem without plunging into sad contemplation. As far as imagery goes, both poems are “gruesomely sensory.” Imagery that evoke the body in a way meant to jar the senses and make the reader respond with something other than the mind.

A Prophecy

To the country dug into our lives like a grave,
to the country etherized, and killed,
a sun rises from our paralyzed history
into our millennial sleep.

A sun without a prayer
that kills the sand’s longevity, and the locusts
and time bursting out of the hills,
and time drying out on the hills
like fungus.

A sun that loves maiming and murder,
that rises from there, behind that bridge…

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A Mirror for the Twentieth Century

A coffin that wears the face of a child,
a book
written inside the guts of a crow,
a beast trudging forward, holding a flower,
a stone
breathing inside the lungs of a madman.
This is it.
This is the twentieth century.

Both pieces were published in Guernica in anticipation of the Selected Poems by Adonis published by Yale University Press.

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