An Iraqi Beauty

O beautiful woman of Iraq,
may the name of Allah
be upon you
and around you!

O enchantress of Koufa,
your veil of azure silk,
sewn with gold,
is the balmy evening
of my life
and the night when gazelles
drink with delight
from my fountain
water that no uncouth love
has ever disturbed!

Long ago, in my adolescent daydreams,
I already thought I could hear the laughter
of beautiful Syrians and Egyptians!

But, when I grew up,
with age came knowledge
and wisdom,
and finally I ascended to the high beauty
of the young girls of Iraq,
a beauty as virginal
as the Tigris
in the time of the Sumerians,
and as deep
as the Euphrates of ancient Mesopotamia!

Those who have brought
your country to fire and blood,
a country whose glory is counted in millennia,
should know that Allah, so tender
and so loving
with the gentle and sincere,
is a God without mercy
to the base, the hateful
and the cruel,
and feels no friendship
towards the wealth-hungry sultans
who rule in the West!

O you viziers from the Land of the Setting Sun,
-or are you just mercenaries?-
you will take to your graves only
the cries of the suffering
and the last words of the tortured,
but your remorse
will pursue you for the whole
of your lives of desolation,
violence and deep shadow!

O my charming Eastern lover,
you are right to be incensed
at the superficiality of the Western races,
because this is the gravest
sin recognised by the Holy Book,
yet please listen
to the innocent song of a poet
who can only dream of landing
on the waters of the deep seas of your eyes,
like a drunken seabird,
or a devoted angel,
searching there
for the salt to cure him,
the spice of his madness
and the clear rivers
of Eden!

O young girl blessed
by the desert moon,
whose freshness
equals, even surpasses,
the freshness of the summer nights
of Arabia,
I want to broadcast
your renown
like a trail of powder,
or a rain of golden topaz,
from Grenade to Malacca,
as far as Djakarta,
everywhere where Allah
wept tears of mastic,
everywhere where he uttered
sighs of jasmine,
musk and amber!

I tremble at
the mere thought
of your hips, more shapely
and smooth than Damascus velvet,
and more tender
than the female lamb at its birth,
and I tremble at your breasts,
than Malabar cardamoms,
redder at their tips
than Serendip cinnamon!

The movements of your rump are
so many flashes of light from the stars
in the pure evening skies
of late spring!

And the movements of your waist are
lightning in the moonlight
where I languish with love for you,
lightning that makes me groan
with passion!

Ya Allah!
How sweet your mouth is,
perfumed with the scented May breeze,
how it shines
in the joyful sun of Mosul,
like the powdered gold of Sudan
that was the invisible treasure
of the Caliphs of Baghdad!