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THIRD WORLD RESURGENCE

The abyss of death

By Ma'ruf al-Rusafi

The Iraqi poet Ma'ruf al-Rusafi (1875-1945) was born in Baghdad of Kurdish parents. He taught in Istanbul and Jerusalem; he entered politics advocating Arab unity, and was Iraqi Minister of Education.


The abyss of death

A mountain our life is, overlooking

An abyss of death.

Along the ridge

We walk, blind: always, walking,

Off we fall.

This universe,

A sea it is, created things

Surge in it. We, when they undulate,

Are the bubbles. They

Appear, vanish,

Are seen, not seen,

Always to scatter

Fated, fated to disperse.

Translated by Issa Boullata and Christopher Middleton

*Third World Resurgence No. 331/332, March/April 2018, p 56


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