In the room
On the roof terrace facing the sea,
The retired pirate prepares his meal –
Half a loaf of bread
A slice of meat
A bottle of vodka …
He shuts his door firmly
And from his ebony box he takes out his ledgers
Now he is happy
But the chest tattles
And the eyes are small clouds.
Who knocks on the door?
Who comes here following him to this room on the roof?
The retired pirate closes his ebony box
And the secrets of his ledgers
And staggers a few steps to drink up the scent of the sea.
Could it be the blind one knocking on the door?
The blind one in the form of a woman
Coming to befriend him at the moment his age is sealed?
Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 in Iraq and is considered one of the most important contemporary poets in the Arab world. Following his experience as a political prisoner in Iraq, he has spent most of his life in exile, working as a journalist throughout North Africa and the Middle East. He now lives in London, where he is also a leading translator of English literature into Arabic.