Two Poems

A placid see white clouds and sunset lighting
Photo: Unsplash


We Shall Manage

    for Rabiqe, who doesn’t like to read sad poems

our teardrops will dry
we shall forget even the easiest of rebellions –
rebellion against God

we shall forget jealousy –

both you
and I
will leave our pride at home

first of all
we shall walk toward grief
it will be confused by our smile
it will see that it has no home
in our souls – this eternal guest
will forever leave us

we shall borrow thread
from the Sun
and embroider our red, red dresses
with golden tracery

we shall acquire wings
and fly
we shall manage
to be happy:
to stick out our tongues to the rain
to throw a wink to the sun
to wrinkle our noses at the wind –
such things will occur only to us

and what we could never imagine –
you are the prettiest women in all the world – they will say
ah, we will love, we will believe
deliberately we will not ask
have you seen all the women of the world?

no doubt one could find
those who are freer,
– only those who are happy
can create happiness –

but, oh! still we shall love, my friend
and still we shall be loved –


Such a Destiny

My forehead must have been inscribed with sails –
I beat against the winds.
My body must have been carved from wood –
the storms shudder before me.

In the eyes of bulls, my friend,
a crimson scarf spins a thread of fear.
A single dissent, my friend, a single dissent –
just the sight can bring great leaders to their knees.

There once was a wide silent sea,
its surface even, unrippled –
I must have been its shore.

Imagine a person, my friend,
a person who would open her arms
as wide as the world,
and run straight toward her love –
he would quickly buy a mouse hole in which to hide

– one woman, my friend,
imagine just one woman.

Jale Ismayil was born in 1978 and received her graduate degree from the Baku State University School of Journalism. She has worked for several newspapers and is an editor at an advertising agency. She has published two books, one of short stories, Heykalin içindaki (2010; Stories inside a monument) and another of poetry, Birnafasa (2015; In one breath).