Al Mahmud (b. 1936)


Returning home one day I found my favourite devil
blowing out the candle on the table. And then,
wearing the cloak of the dark, he casually walked
up to my bed and sat down, smiled weakly and said,
among other illusive things, that I was welcome
to visit the land of my lord. Crossing forbidden
territory, I arrived in a moment to stand
under the beautiful wisdom tree. I said: this sharp dagger
is mine, give me supernatural courage, my lord
so that I can use it to bring down the lovely fruit
and share it with the woman I love.

               (translated by Pritish Nandy)

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Revised: April 13, 1996