Poem: Language – Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) was an Arab poet from Syria.  He is famous for writing about love, romance, eroticism and feminism. Many of his poems have been turned into popular Arabic songs. Here is a short poem translated from Arabic which I like for the idea of its poetic license.


When a man is in love
How can he use old words?
Should a woman
desiring her lover
lie down with
grammarians and linguists?

I said nothing
To the woman I loved
But gathered
Love’s adjectives into the suitcase
And fled from all languages.


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