Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Atwood


101 Poetry Nights. March 14, 2016
The Old Stairs of Beirut

“an immortal old woman
resting between garbage and art,
in the sun-punctured shade
that is almost a night
sky perforated with stars.”

Zeina Hashem Beck – “The Old Stairs of Beirut

Lisel Mueller,

“The laughter of Woman”

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Margaret Atwood

“They’d like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look–my feet don’t hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I’m rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I’m not a goddess?
Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you’ll burn.”

“Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing” by Margaret Atwood

John Keats

“When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.”

Note: I decided to insert poems I wrote 20 years ago

I Say  

I say, every one must have his identity:

Death has forced on us the I.

I say, what exists must be discovered:

Death impressed on us to know.

I say, every feeling must be experienced:

Death created stages for us to grow.

I say, there must be a meaning to life:

Death did not leave us a choice in that.

Siba Baroudy

وكنت فأصبحت……

وأغمضت عيناً واحدةً وتركت الأخرى تشهدُ
وأطبقت شفةً واحدةً وتركت الأخرى ببنتها تنبسُّ
ورميتُ يداً واحدةً وتركت الأخرى تكتبُ
وحرقتُ نصفَ شرايني وتركت الأخرى تنبضُ
وأوقفتُ رئةً واحدةً وتركت الأخرى تشهقُ
ونسيتُ عمريَ الماضي ورحت عنه أبحثُ
والان بعد أن رأيتك أطفأتُ عيناً أخرى وأطبقتُ شفةً أخرى
ورميتُ… وحرقتُ… وأوقفتُ… ونسيتُ
ولم أعد أشهدُ أو أنطقُ أو أكتبُ أو أبحثُ
وارتقيتُ فها أنا ذرّةً في فَلَكِك تدوُر
أفلا يكفيني أنّ قدري لهوّاماتك يكونُ؟

نزار قباني

أيظن أني لعبة بيديه؟
أنا لا أفكر في الرجوع إليه
اليوم عاد كأن شيئا لم يكن
وبراءة الأطفال في عينيه
ليقول لي : إني رفيقة دربه
وبأنني الحب الوحيد لديه
حمل الزهور إلي .. كيف أرده
وصباي مرسوم على شفتيه
ما عدت أذكر .. والحرائق في دمي
كيف التجأت أنا إلى زنديه
خبأت رأسي عنده .. وكأنني
طفل أعادوه إلى أبويه
حتى فساتيني التي أهملتها
فرحت به .. رقصت على قدميه
سامحته .. وسألت عن أخباره
وبكيت ساعات على كتفيه
وبدون أن أدري تركت له يدي
لتنام كالعصفور بين يديه ..
ونسيت حقدي كله في لحظة
من قال إني قد حقدت عليه؟
كم قلت إني غير عائدة له
ورجعت .. ما أحلى الرجوع إليه ..

– نزار قباني

101 Poetry Night

These are excerpts of a few poems delivered during the sessions

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou – “I know why the Caged Bird Sings

From “Variations on the Word Sleep” by Margaret Atwood:

“I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary.”

Art by: Meghan Howland

The two years
You were my lover
Are the two most important pages
In the book of modern love.
All the pages before and after
Were blank.
These pages
Are the lines of the equator
Passing between your lips and mine
They are the measures of time
That are used
To set the clocks of the world.

Nizar Qabbani
One Hundred Love Letters, Number 14's photo.

If you ever wake up forgetting,
I’ll let you eat
the sun whole; I’ll
turn myself into
a mirror
so you can see
all the light
that cracks out of

A.Y. // a promise for the morning

Art by: Eugenia Loli

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Gibran Khalil Gibran

Become controversy.
Become the noise.
Cut through the politeness
of normalcy.

They demand that
you blend into the wall,
but darling,
you have always been
the masterpiece upon it.
Noor Shirazie

Art by: Weekend Hashtag Project

“Addiction is tricky.

For example: a man who quit smoking for 11 years spent 15 seconds in an elevator with a man smoking a cigarette. He gave in.

What I’m trying to say is I think I love you again.”

Sculpture by David Altmejd

By Nayyirah Waheed's photo.

Meet our guest poet for March’s poetry night!

Originally from Ras el Maten- Lebanon, Jana Bou Reslan is a doctoral candidate of Leadership in Higher Education at Saint Louis University, Missouri (May 2016).

She has been an instructor of the English Language and Education at several private universities in Lebanon.

She is the founder of, an interdisciplinary project that advocates freedom of expression through retreats in nature, poetry workshops, and the website:

The project idea was first presented in TEDxBeirut 2012. Jana is currently the chairperson of English and Translation Department at AUST.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with Minors in Arabic and English languages, as well as an MBA from AUB & LAU, she has worked as an elementary and middle school English teacher for 5 years before turning into research and teaching at universities in 2010.

She will be joining us to share her experiences in the literary world, and perform poetry in both Arabic and English. Be sure not to miss it!





January 2023

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