One Poem. One Planet. — Ahmed Fouad Negm

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PRISONER’S FILE

Name     Sabr

Charge     That I am Egyptian.

Age     The most modern age
(though grey hair in braids flows from my head down to my waist.)

Profession     Heir, of my ancestors and of time, to the creation of civilization and life-force and peace.

Skin     Wheat-colored.

Figure     As slim as a lance.

Hair     Rougher than dried clover.

Color of eyes    Jet black.

Nose     Aquiline like a horse’s.

Mouth     Firmly in place
(when I attempted to budge it, some mischief happened.)

Place of birth     In any dark room
under the sky,
on the soil of Egypt.
From any house in the middle of palm trees,
where the Nile flows–
as long as it is not a palace.

Verdict     For seven thousand years
I have been a prisoner asleep,
grinding stones with my molars
out of frustration,
spending the nights in grief.

The question of release     Someone asked me:
“Why is your imprisonment so long?”

“Because I am a peaceful and humorous man.
I did not break the law,
because I am afraid of it;
the law holds a sword in its hands.

Anytime you want–
ask the informers about me
and you will hear and understand
my story from A to Z.

–Ahmed Fouad Negm, (Egypt)

 

Learn more about One Poem. One Planet.

 

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