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Day 26: Abu Nuwas by Kazim Ali

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

Abu Nuwas

by Kazim Ali

Halfway between the northern and southern sky

Hangs the constellation of Abu Nuwas

Who drunk and in love knelt at places rivers split

To refuse all paths and offer his mosaic prayer

Unhinged he peeled from yellow-leafed birches enough paper

To fashion a barque and make for the moon

Floating in the moment where one wave becomes another

Amber driftwood or beach glass or lost unmapped stars reciting

We are what produces itself sanded and cast adrift

Precisely at the horizon and so eternally unseen

One note emerges from the drizzle of sound

What finally somehow though endless does wash ashore

Copyright © 2018 by Kazim Ali. Used with the permission of the author. Previously published in Inquisition(2018.)

About the Author

Author headshotKazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, including several volumes of poetry, novels, and translations. He is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. His newest books are a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water. For more:


Queer Poem a Day graphic

2021 Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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