Vox Populi

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Iman Chahine Sharba: God of Dreams

God passed away empty handed 
But with regret
And like a sly boy
Broke with his shoe
the last dry loaf of bread.
Oh god of dreams,
Son of sleep and nights—
Put your disability aside,
And for one night only, before sheer death,
Light up the candles of dreams.

Water the flowers of departure
To help the miserable to anticipate
A better tomorrow… providing it is not
Limited for one lone night.
Break your routine lamp
And prepare from clouds a bed
For a hungry boy
So he may forget death
And the ugliness of our idleness.
For a night
Find for the consumed lover
A wedding party.
Carry her up to the sky
As a bride in a dress
Of rains and rainbows...
And for one night only
Kindle the star instead of logs
To give the old man a blissful
Before his last departure.

Oh god of dreams...
Swallow up, for one night,
Our sadness!
In the next morning,
Are you sure you can resume
Your holy position?


Oh god of dreams
You are like us—
Helpless and cold!

Translated from the Arabic by Saleh Razzouk and Philip Terman.
Iman Chahine Sharba is a Syrian poet who lives in Salamiah. She is the mother of two children, has a degree in applied chemistry, and works for the National Hospital of Salamiah.  Her latest collection is “Ishtar of Love and Fires.” Saleh Razzouk is an assistant professor at the University of Aleppo, Syria.  He is a short story writer and his recent translations of contemporary Syrian poets have appeared in Poetry London, Crazy Horse, the Mid-American Review,  Bitter Oleander, and The Laurel Review. Philip Terman is a poet and professor of literature at Clarion University,  His recent book is Our Portion: New and Selected Poems published by Autumn House Press.
Translation copyright 2018 Saleh Razzouk and Philip Terman.
Iman Chahine Sharba

2 comments on “Iman Chahine Sharba: God of Dreams

  1. Sale Razzouk
    November 28, 2019

    One has to thank Vox Populi for this adorable presentation. Syrians are people of Arts not of war. Violence was forced on them. To stop it we need to enhance arts and virtual reality.
    This poem in particular is transparent. The participation of prof. Philip Terman was more than helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      November 28, 2019

      Thank you, Sale, for contributing this beautiful translation.


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