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Distant Light

Harsh and cold

autumn holds to it our naked trees:

If only you would free, at least, the sparrows

from the tips of your fingers

and release a smile, a small smile

from the imprisoned cry I see.

Sing! Can we sing

as if we were light, hand in hand

sheltered in shade, under a strong sun?

Will you remain, this way

stoking the fire, more beautiful than necessary, and quiet?

Darkness intensifies

and the distant light is our only consolation —

that one, which from the beginning

has, little by little, been flickering

and is now about to go out.

Come to me. Closer and closer.

I don't want to know my hand from yours.

And let's beware of sleep, lest the snow smother us.

Translation: Khaled MATTAWA