It is not because I’m scared, nor pessimistic,
…. nor have a coward’s heart,
But, whenever I’m forced into a war
I think about it this way:
If anyone is going to die
Then it will obviously be me.

My friend/enemy over there in the opposite trench
Thinks in another way:
If anyone is going to survive this war
Then it will obviously be me.

There is always another witness
Who everyone sees and yet no one
….. yearns to know what he thinks,
Standing alone on the hill
Gazing on everyone’s trenches
He thinks of it in a different way:
If one must die and one survive,
This means all are doomed.
by Nazih Abou Afach
Dam’u Al-Yamaam (The Dove’s Tear; forthcoming)
publisher: First published on PIW, 2011
translation: 2011, John Peate

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