Elsinore, Hamlet’s castle
The trench with green water
is criss-crossed by twigs and birds,
by the shoes of tourists
and the ghosts of shipwrecked sailors . . .
I cross it too
feeling the moat’s wooden boards,
soft, and water-logged.
Like blood within blood,
the castle resides within itself.
But now you will not caress a wooden board
or a stone, you will not enter history
to enjoy the paintings exhibited in the hall
while you listen to the
Now you will withdraw into yourself
like a snail into its shell.
You will listen to footfalls in a distant night.
To stifled breath, to the staircase
rising toward the questions.
So, then, beware!
Translated by Sargon Boulus. Reprinted from Banipal No 15/16. With thanks to the Arabic Literature (in English Translation) blog.
ٍSee also Youssef’s very long poem “Hamlet’s Balcony” – شرفة هاملت – (in Arabic).