You Come Again, Michael

BY ZAHID M. NASER,
TRANSLATED FROM MALAY
BY PAULINE FAN

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You come again, Michael
when the throat of my spirit is tormented
you make me wild undergrowth and you burn. . .
leaving behind only a rose in the ash of your
wing-roots, Michael, imperious
not low like the wings of a dove, you have spread them here to find me.

What is it you like, Michael?
with that strange laugh of yours
sneering like a crazed warrior?
you bear me and my fingers away
under the sombre shadow of frangipani
till the break of day – it brings no radiance,
only despair, a cup of the city’s mulberry
and a single line of a frail poet.

MIKAIL, KAU DATANG LAGI

Mikail, kau datang lagi
saat tenggorok batinku tersiksa
dan kau buatku jadi belukar, dan kau bakar
kau hanya tinggalkan sekuntum mawar di abu banir
sayapmu Mikail, angkuh benar
tak serendah kepak merpati, dan kau biar terbentang
menemukanku di sini.

Apa Mikail kau suka?
dengan tawa asingmu itu
menyeringai layak seorang perajurit gila?
aku dan jemariku kau sisihkan
di bawah redup bayang kemboja
sehingga terbit mentari – tak meluah sinar
hanya membawa nestapa, secawan mulberi kota
dan sebaris puisi penyair kurus.


Zahid M. Naser is a poet, literary translator, and former political journalist from Malaysia. His debut volume of poetry, Berehat Di Sisi Paus, was published by Pustaka Obscura in 2016. His poems have also appeared in the journal Naratif | Kisah and the online magazine, JalanTelawi.com. A graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, he translates literature from Arabic to Malay, including poems by Mahmoud Darwish and Nizar Qabbani. He is currently translating Al-Mustasfa min ‘ilm al-usul by the philosopher Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali.
Pauline Fan is a writer and literary translator from Malaysia. Her writings and translations have been published in Circumference: Poetry in Translation, Inventory, Orientierungen, Axon: Creative Explorations and elsewhere. She has translated works by Bertolt Brecht, Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, Georg Trakl, Else Lasker-Schüler, and Joachim Sartorius into Malay and English. Pauline is a columnist for Esquire Malaysia, co-editor of the English-Malay literary journal, Naratif | Kisah, and Malaysia editor for Lyrikline. She serves as creative director of the Malaysian cultural heritage organisation, Pusaka. She holds a Masters in Modern German Literature from the University of Oxford.

Image Credit: Archangel by Simona

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