Three Tunsian Poets Feautred in an Anthology


Tahar Bekri, Shams Nadir, and Amina Saïd were featured in a bilingual anthology titled The Parley Tree: Poets from French-speaking Africa & The Arab World. This anthology is translated by Patrick Williamson with Yann Lovelock, edited and introduced by Patrick Williamson with a Preface by Tahar Bekri, and published by Arc Publications, 2012. This work seeks to provide the English-speaking audience with the most quality and vividest examples of poetry written by French-speaking distinguished poets of the region.

Here is a slice from this pie; a poem by Taher Bekri:

By Tahar Bekri 
If music were to die
If love is the work of Satan
If your body is your prison
If the whip is what you know how to wield
If your heart is your beard
If your truth is a veil
If your refrain is a bullet
If your song is a funeral prayer
If your falcon is a crow
If your look is brother to dust

How can you love the sun in your lair?

If your sky detests kites
If your soil is a minefield
If your wind is thickened by powder
And not fecund pollen
If your mulberry tree is a gallows
If your door is a barrage
If your bed is a trench
If your house is a coffin
If your river flows with blood
If your snow is a cemetery

How can you love the water in the river?

If your mountains submit
Humiliated and humbled
Their backs unjust citadels
Their guts disembowelled to harden stone
If your valley is not to fuel your dream
Like a rose in the zephyr
If your clay is kneaded by grief
Not to raise a school
Like an apricot tree in flower
If your reed is not a qalam

How can you live in the light?

If your labour is seed for scarecrows
Craven cache for poppies
If your horse is enslaved by its blinkers
Scorns the flight of flutes in the air
If your valley vomits its sapphires
To the warlords
If the braids of women are ropes
If your stadium is a slaughterhouse
If your path is invisible
If your night is a tomb for the stars

How can you promise the moon?

If Gengis Khan is your master
If your child is the offspring of Timur
If your face is faceless
If your sabre is your executioner
If your epic is ruins and vultures
If all the rain cannot wash your forefinger
If your desire is dead wood
If your fire is ash
If your flame is smoke
If your passion is grenades and cannon

How can you seduce the dove at the window?

If your village is a casern
Not a nest for swallows
If your house is a cave
If your source is a mirage
If your dress is your shroud
If death is your mausoleum
If your Koran is a turban
If your prayer is war
If your paradise is hell
If your soul is your sombre gaoler

How can you love the spring?
from The Parley Tree (Arc Publications, 2012).


About aliznaidi

Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002. He teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translations. His work has appeared here and there and is scheduled to appear elsewhere . At moments of revelation, he smokes and drinks green tea with mint while pondering.
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9 Responses to Three Tunsian Poets Feautred in an Anthology

  1. Precisely the right poem .,to think about.jalal

  2. mlynxqualey says:

    I had no idea about this collection…thank you!

  3. shantanu says:

    emotive…a good read, thank you for sharing !!

  4. Ini says:

    Really enjoyed reading this, just wonderful

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