IWP main site

You are here

Nizar Qabbani, 'The Diary of an Uneducated Dog'

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998), 'The Diary of an Uneducated Dog'

(translated from the Arabic by Soran Hunter and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)

My king, my king,
I don’t want your sapphire or gold - dog
Nor your finest clothes.
All I need is for you to hear me:
My poems carry
All voices of Arabs,
All the curses of Arabs.
If you, my lord, don't love poems and songs 
Then tell your swordsman to give me the freedom to bark.
My king, my king,
There's no doubt that you could cut off every head
But why you are against love and lovers?
Why are you, my lord, against the ink and the paper?
You have everything you ask for:
Soldiers, prisons, and gallows,
Thunder and lightning bolts.
You have the balance scale and the judgment staff. 
You have rewards and punishments.
On the other hand, I only plant lilies 
And let birds free.
Your habit, my lord,
Is shooting birds.
Tell me why, my lord?
You are against planting and herbs.
You are against the sea, rain, and clouds.
You won awards for terrorism.
Tell me why?
You hate books.
Tell me why?
You guard your kingdom from the threat of grammar, spelling, definitions.
Tell my why?
You fear  
The education of dogs.

About This Gallery

The IWP Publishing Gallery hosts collections of new work curated by our colleagues worldwide.


Writing University

MFA in Literary Translation  (University of Iowa)

The Iowa Review


Drupal theme by pixeljets.com D7 ver.1.1