“Like Writing With Jasmine Water”

On Entering The Sea
By Nizar Qabbani
(Translated from Arabic)

Love happened at last,
And we entered God’s paradise,
Under the skin of the water
Like fish.
We saw the precious pearls of the sea
And were amazed.
Love happened at last
Without intimidation…with symmetry of wish.
So I gave…and you gave
And we were fair.
It happened with marvellous ease
Like writing with jasmine water,
Like a spring flowing from the ground.

These words are cloaked in the beauty of a foreign tongue. English words arranged in a new way, influenced by a different language. Familiar words given new meaning; a new lucidity. I can almost taste this poem. I can feel cold, pure water on my hands, and on my face. A beautiful gem.


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