Mermaid of the Mediterranean
O my native land!
Upon whose shore lovers stand
Kissing, proposing, or walking hand in hand.
Thou wilt never fall,
Nor will your belovèd sand.
Mother of Cavafy and this poor poet,
Who will ne’er describe thee well.
With all my senses I covet
To annihilate the atrocities that thee befell.
Thy monuments, which surviv’d
For ages, are now demolished
Though not all, to be just,
Some ancient buildings turn’d to dust.
I am left to wonder,
Why the sepulchre?
What is the reason
To take a whole season
Committing such acts of treason
‘gainst thee, O mermaid o’th’sea.
Is it to monarchize?
Or to modernize
A city like thee that cannot exist
As it hath always been, the best o’the best.
Belovèd of Greece, thy grateful niece
To you have opened her chest.
Hug her, for God’s sake!
Combine and they won’t dare make
An end, or even separate
Both of you from each other.
If thou hast lost a mother,
Summon thy soul mate!
Nay, thy mother is not lost
But apoplexed temporarily.
Just as you she’s paying the cost;
She’s covered with frost
For being great and extraordinary.
Rebel, ye people, or gather here
Around me. I pray you hear
My calls. Protest if thou wilt!
Help her get reviv’d.
Do not bear the guilt
By being silent
Like the “B” in doubt, unpronounc’d.
Write a poem just like me,
Sign a petition or a treaty.
Like the old days together stand
In favor of our belovèd land:
The drowning Mermaid of the sea.
Omar Ibrahim is an Egyptian poet and translator. He studies English language and literature at the faculty of arts, Alexandria University. He translated a collection of poems named “It’s Time I Confess” by Mahmoud Morsi, and Ibrahim’s first collection will be out this year.
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