Poetry at Sangam



And Behold by Simin Behbahani

    â€œDo they not consider the camel, how it was created?”
                                                          â€“ Qoran, Sura 88:17
And behold the camel, how it was created:
not from mud and water,
but, as if, from patience and a mirage.
And you know how the mirage deceives the eyes.
And the mirage knows not the secret of your patience:
how you endure the thirst, the sand, and the salt marshes,
and gazing at the immense presence with your weary eyes.
And behold how this gaze is marked with salt grooves
like the dry lines remaining on your cheeks after a stream of tears.
And behold the tears that have drained from you
all means of consciousness.
With what nothingness should you fill this emptied space?
And behold in this emptied space the agitation of a thirsty camel,
made mad beyond the limits of its patience,
reluctant to carry meekly its heavy burden.
And behold its two incisors gleaming madly in a row of angry teeth.
Patience spawns hatred and hatred the fatal wound:
behold with what vengeance the camel
bit through the arteries of its driver.
The mirage lost its patience.
And behold the camel.
(From A Cup Of Sin: Selected Poems by Simin Behbahani, Translated by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa, University of Syracuse Press, 1999)
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