"A Hand To Freedom": Fragments From A Dialogue
    Peter Money and Saadi Youssef
The sun has dwelt in the books of travelers and poets/Just this little bit, if I may help (I was a waiter once, here, this cup of water)--& now, always a new day, the sky fills: peach, pink, human--to human, as I walk up the icy hill with two small children.

Snow, Saadi, nothing but snow, falling; ash, you could say, but for the tongue, thirsting & for the branch--a shared sky, renewal by these multifold stories; & now I cannot look at snow the same way: you in Amman (I had no idea. . . ), a flake on your shoulder, you looked up. Here, we put aside our work & global position. . . & look up, out, across, into the eyes of snow--& hear a thousand voices, falling. And feel their, as you say, shiver. I feel them shiver.

September 01 you were writing "That rainy day", September 01, twelfth day, I was looking out toward this mountain--thinking about the many hands which made Geza. September 02 I found you among dozens (you stood out--as if fastened to the paper, a circumstance which would not disappear). . . you and Abdel Wahab al-Bayati, Buland al Haydari, Mohammed Mahdi al-Jawahiri: poets of the road: strength (maybe?) in the stream of characters making us waves of ancestors; take that character, Aboud: Hamlet--no complainer but a teller of time--(wandering everywhere a skull has to go).

So much had they to say they were feared for their freedom.

And if we are real, and here, present, we let ourselves be warmed by word, as by act. Down on the carpet, colors & pattern--digging it--the hours which bear up again these small freedoms. The place is cold, but all around the skin is warm. To day. Minutes only. Minutes only and I shall make with your love a narrow bed.

Saadi Youssef is considered one of the most important poets to have come from Iraq. He was born in 1934 in Basra, Iraq. He has published thirty volumes of poetry, seven books of prose, and has rendered into Arabic major works by such writers as Walt Whitman, Constantine Cavafy, Federico Garcia Lorca, George Orwell, Nuruddin Farah, and Wole Soyinka. He left Iraq in 1979, and after many detours, working as a journalist, publisher, and political activist, he has recently settled in London.

Peter Money has traveled through New Zealand, Australia, India, Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland and England. He taught at Brooklyn College as adjunct professor and edited a literary magazine "Lame Duck" and authored several books of poems. He currently lives in Vermont.



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