Two poems, by Tareq al-Karmy

Translated by Liz Lochhead.

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The Legend of Mythic, Proud Perfection

Not Richard’s – not your “Lionheart” ’s – horse, no
Nor Great Alexander’s steed Bucephalus, no
Not Roman horses thundering home their demonic mastery,
Not the legendary, immortal, Trojan horse,
No, there’s never been a horse on all the earth but –
failing to attain absolute perfection of nobility –
has, in the end, had to be put down
by merciful bullets. Not one
this, the one my father bought me,
my horse,
although it’s only wee and made of wood.


All the Viagra in the world
make the economy
stand up.


Tareq al-Karmy is a Palestinian poet and activist from the West Bank; Liz Lochhead is Scotland’s Makar (poet laureate). Translations assisted by Sandra Ernst. These poems appear in A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry translated by Scottish writers, edited by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving, published in June by Freight Books (£9.99).

This article appears in the 21 May 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Peak Ukip

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