Conventional Wisdom (Arabic Saying Translated Twenty Ways)

Poetry is the record of the Arabs
The art of poetry is Arabs, collected
Good poetry is a list of Arabs
To speak in verse is to remain in Arab memory
To surpass another poet is the Arab odyssey
Knowledge is the Arab living room
Feeling is what Arabs call the office
Falsehood is the Arab court of justice
Noticing is the Arab account-book
Reckoning is the Arab reckoning
Being awake is where Arabs rest their heads
Being aware is how Arabs anthologize
Plants are Arabs immortalized
Trees are the Arab board of advisers
Vegetation is the Arab chesterfield
Saffron is, for Arabs, stray poems gathered
Fur is the Arab sofa
What grows on the body is the Arab saga
Bristles are a gathering of Arabs
Hair is the Arab archive

Copyright © 2021 by Yasmine Seale. This poem was first printed in Wasafiri, Vol. 36 (2021). Used with the permission of the author.