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Saadi Youssef


Saadi Youssef was born in 1934 in Basra, Iraq. The author of numerous books of poetry and prose, he has also translated into Arabic major works by such writers as Walt Whitman, Constantine Cavafy, and Federico García Lorca. He left Iraq in 1979 and worked as a journalist, publisher, and political activist. He lives in London, England.

By This Poet



translated by Khaled Mattawa

Alone, now you are free.

You pick a sky and name it
                 a sky to live in
                 a sky to refuse

But if you want know
                 if you are really free
and to remain free
you must steady yourself
                 on a foothold of earth

so that the earth may rise
so that you may give
to the children of earth