Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fadhil Al-Azzawi ( b.1940) - In my spare time

During  my long, boring hours of spare time
I sit to play with the earth's sphere.
I establish countries without police or parties
and I scrap others that no longer attract consumers.
I run roaring rivers through barren deserts
and I create continents and oceans
that I save for the future just in case.
I draw a new coloured map of the nations:
I roll Germany to the Pacific ocean teeming with whales
and I let the poor refugees
sail pirate's ships to her coasts
in the fog
dreaming of the promised garden in Bavaria.
I switch England with Afghanistan
so that its youth can smoke hashish for free
provided courtesy of Her Majesty's government.
I smuggle Kuwait from its fenced and mined borders
to Comoro, the islands
of the moon in its eclipse,
keeping the oil fields intact, of course.
At the same time I transport Baghdad
in the midst of loud drumming
to the islands of Tahiti.
I let Sauddi Arabia crouch in its eternal desert
to preserve the purity of her thouroughbred camels.
This is before I surrender America
back to the Indians
just to give history
the justice it has long lacked.

I know that changing the world is not easy
but it remains necessary nonetheless.

Fadhil al -Azzawi is an Iraqi writer who is highly respected in the Arab world having emerged and participated in Iraqi's 90s avant garde generation.
Outspoken, he has spent many  hours in prison and time spent in exile because of his refusal to conform to certain corridors of power. Born in Kirkuk in 1940.
The above poem speaks for itself...... speaking of empires, inhumanity, offering glimpses of another ideal world, a future not based on injustice, but on shared  values, giving  lands back to the people from which they were once robbed.
Given us history the justice it has long lacked, knowing, too , that changing the world is easy. The role poetry has to play in the world is to pull of the masks of peddlers of untruths, becomming a universal pointer, offering words without borders and unlocking the chains of illusion ... that can be steps in setting us free.

Fadhil Al-Azzahi, Miracle Maker ( selected Poems 1960 -2002)  Editions, 2003


  1. where can i find this in its original Arabic?

  2. Unfortunately I am not sure, I have only read his tranlated piece. Discovered him through a magazine called Banipal which is a magazine of Modern Arab Literature......

    If that is not too helpful
    I think it would be possible to track some of his works down in Arabic, on Amazon.