Abdellatif Laâbi

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Tragedy all!

The “dear country”
always remembers you
when it is doing well
(Oh! so rarely)
and especially when it is doing bad
But, then
slaps you with both hands
with violence
that you thought you had forgotten
tears your heart
with butcher’s hooks
strangles you in your sleep
opens the cursed box of your dark thoughts
and puts under your nose
the scents of your impotence

Here it is suffering like it never suffered
and those among its children
who find themselves at the bottom of the abyss
are the poorest among the poor

Tragedy all!

and put yourself in the attitude
and the state of mind
of the orant
Bare head and feet
you close your eyes
and place your hands crossed
on your chest
You stay like this for a while
that you can’t measure
You know that the Word
will rise from the land you tread
up to your lips

and you will begin to whisper to the dead
the missing, the injured, the orphans
survivors who are not yet sure
to have remained alive
what is not whispered
only in the ears of the most beloved
of the loved ones

Translated from French by Jean Jonassaint

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