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Check out our February feature of folktales from the Qatari oral tradition.
from the January 2020 issue

[Only the madman has stayed behind in the city]

An abandoned city’s lone inhabitant rages against his surroundings and those who left in this poem by Ciwan Nebî.


Only the madman has stayed behind in the city,
Barefoot
On cold nights
Shots can be heard!

What does he have to fear?
He has no kin,
No kingdom but the city.
He’ll resort to anything!

He calls out to those who have abandoned the city
As if they took what’s left of his mind with them, and all his cigarettes!

He calls out in the rain,
Staring at the void around him,
At the sidewalks,
At the city.
He grabs the nearest umbrella
And falls asleep as if nothing has happened!


© Ciwan Nebî. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by David Shook and Zêdan Xelef. All rights reserved.

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