Literal Translation by Mbarek Sryfi

An Ode to Dawn


Mohammed Bennis

O Goethe, Master of Poets

I have sung from the nearest land of the East praising a glass you used to drink from happily

under a grapevine and you knew all of it was infinitely good,

Alone here at the bar of strangers the waiter is filling my glass

with pure wine

glass after glass

and deep inside I bless an elation

Abstemious, I come to know the West which you have entrusted to the essence of words

You are me —

Today I see you from time to time coming back

looking out from your universal ascent both of us united by a dream

made out of your ink when intoxication

and straying have remained in you a sparkling flame flying to the heights

Truly I will raise the light of your glass

There is no other way but this in these wounded times as if longing for you leads the way

from West to East passing on to me the intoxicating glass

Glorifying what makes me carry on living, far away from the stupidity of hatred

I know that the time of hardship has today become more despotic

in the name of what they called legitimacy

but I with the water of love wash that which has been profaned in the soul

Welcome to a glass of ruby-colored wine

I will drink in praise of love from this glass night after night

I will endeavor faithfully to praise those who chanted

among the poets for the land that remains

for us a mother like it used to be

I, the drunk—

I see the wonder of the unknown shining

on a silence that has singled me out

faithful to the opening of infinity between us,

happy with it forever I will be


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