Mehdi Akhrif: Half a Line

I have been way too busy, travelling for all the wrong reasons, teaching & trying to get the anthology of Maghrebian Writing I’m doing with Habib Tengour ready to send to the publisher in time, to be able to concentrate on this blog — except for announcements of this or that order. What I do want to do over the next month or so, is to post some of the Maghrebian poets we are including in the anthology — for your pleasure, & of course to whet your appetite for the whole book which should be out in the fall of 2012. Here is a first installment, a poem by the Moroccan poet Mehdi Akhrif:


Half a line of poetry
is enough
for a lifetime
Edgar Poe spent the whole of his mad life
translating unsuccessfully
half a line of poetry
into incredible prose

The other half of the line
will come from another world
further away than poetry
and the voyages
than the sound of a rope

As far as you’re concerned
it will be enough to prevaricate in the coming years
to be yourself
and to give yourself over to half a line of prose
that you have always skillfully missed
pretexting that we had gotten
to our appointment thirty years late
Let’s add that to be standing up thus
on one single leg
like a heron
the voice turned toward your wet nurse the sea
(we wrote about the two of you
in Low Ceiling
— remember?)
enjoying in the here below and the beyond
only the sense of smell
is proof that the other half
of your line of poetry
was written well in advance
inside the bubbles
of this cold glass

translated by P.J.



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2 Responses

  1. Poo says:

    You have done what you had to do. For those of us who start our day with your blog the lack of updates was missed but understandable. I enjoyed Half A Line as if it had been a paragraph.

  2. Tonia says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share! I look forward to reading the others.

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