Prophecy and Prayers

by Ali Al-Jamri

                                                                     There is an awaited day
coming, approaching, dancing
on the tongue of a prophet
                                          Awaiting the day when
                                                         the sea kneels down to re-reef
                                                              its coral, blooming up
coming, approaching, drenching           the cancerous financial harbour
the prophet tongue dancing                                  crushing its steel joints

                                                         and the secret freshwater sea spools
                                                         cloying its banks into a spring, 
                                                         a breach for the diver 

             for earth will not become uninhabitable
             it will only be uninhabitable for you,        you,

                                 while I,          I will sip from                                               إنكي مفقودٌ في سومر وعين عذاري 
                                               this spring                                                        أغوص بأعماق البحر، أهرب من دَهْري
                                                        even when it is gone 

coming, approaching, prophetic                            words spoken into Ziusudra's palace
dancing on the drenched tongue                                       A FLOOD IS COMING, BUILD AN ARK
                                                                                                                this lord has saved us once before
                                                                         the spring tastes
                                                                    sweeter now it's gone        
                                                                    drunk from the goblet
                                                                        an oyster's pearl

                                                       awash in the whirlpool
                                      of a luxury apartment                                              ربي إنكي أفرج عني من قيد راس المال
                beneath it, a school of fish                                                              شگني شگة ومزقني من خلگ الأجيال
                                                        parting the sea
                                                                                  the sea
                                                                   springs forward
                                                        fulfilling my tongue
                                                                      quenching my dreams
                                                                                      summoning from its depths
                                                                      Enki, Lord of Water!
                                                      do not question, I beg you, your wisdom
                                                           in saving man from the flood once 
                                                                      Enki, Lord of Water! 
                                                     I beg you, save man from the flood twice

Ali Al-Jamri is a Bahraini poet and translator based in the UK. He edited Between Two Islands (2021), an anthology of Bahraini poetry, and has been published in Modern Poetry in Translation, Consilience, Zindabad and anthologies. He has produced poetry for Manchester City of Literature, Manchester Poetry Library and Young Identity and was a BBC Words First 2020 semi-finalist. He is a New Writing North Arabic Translation mentee and passionate about Eastern Arabia’s dialect poetry.