Shirts for the Light
Praise written by the poet Adonis as a tribute to art painter Madhat Ali Kakei
What we see, and we whisper, is a unique alloy
Where shimmer dreams and reality, hope and labour.
In that shimmering, the come-and-go of the brush
Of Madhat Ali explores and creates.
In that brush movement, the time is not just counted
In terms of days. This day, every single day, is a tree. Each tree
Has its own sap. The artist catches the sap and pours it
In the arteries of his creations. That is the way the painting appears:
Looks like a bushy tree, full of invisible wings. In its branches,
Nothing but horizons; nothing but trips.
Madhat Ali does not paint things as if they were
The skin of the world. He paints the secret effulgence of things.
Effulgence that aligns in rays like an orchestra: souvenirs,
Dreams, dates, migrations – on the theatre of the colours.
The lyre, therein, is translucent; it deserves to be nicknamed
The mirage of all times.
Among those things, the same dust
The artist’s feet the first time trampled on.
Oh! How his steps dreamed! Oh! How his dreams
Appeared as if they were dressed with garments
Weaved by clouds!
In each painting, the memory is a space full of voices
Which are nothing else but colours of nostalgia
Whispering one to each other and tangling one into each other.
You could think the painting resides in the sighs of its colours,
And then it steps faraway – in the breathing/expiration of the ink.
If you contemplate them, those paintings exchange looks with you.
You discover they possess like eyelashes
Which hug the vision as well, not only the view. All what they
Designate, insinuates and suggests.
As if, in these masterpieces, the light
Had eyes able to read the book of the skies;
As if the skies had hands
Able to weave shirts for the light.
To whom can listen, each painting tells
That it is itself the night, pensive on the stick of the day;
That the darkness is not blackness:
It is just a fatigue – a passing fatigue
Nonchalant in the steps of the light.
(Paris, early July 2022)
ADONIS: The Sun Itself
Homage to Madhat Kakei
is a bridge between eye and object
How can you ask me to travel outwards
lie inside me?
To understand the bird
You must read the stone
Each time, believing I have found the path
I further advance into perplexity.
A frightful ocean of words
in a ripple of silence
I dream a great deal
yet my dreams do not belong to me.
Should light deceive you
don't blame it on the sun
All objects inhabit the earth
and the sky inhabits the sky
Now you may ask which is more beautiful
and which is more infinite.
Light neither asks or takes
light only gives
Nature is a mirror
The more beautiful because unpolished.
My mind would rather trust the shore
my heart, the only sea
I doubt if silence
is the antinomy of words.
You will not be lantern
if your shoulders do not bear the light.
The body itself is your road's blossoms
it wither and blooms at the same time
The most beautiful and limpid rain
feeds the sources of weeping
that very same rain
which pouts out of the body's clouds.
The most beautiful place for growing roses
is the climat of the eyes
Each morning has a hidden body
which opens for you a child's arms
Neither the winds own a garb
nor time a refuge.
Two paupers who rule the world
Regardless of how knowledgeable the darkness
it will not read the light
The poplar tree is a minaret
and the wind, a muezzin
It is not enough to dream
you should also invent
a family for your dreams
The sun itself
will only illuminate
those who yield light
To lay down the day on night's shoulders
is a beautiful burden
entrusted by dreams
to each day.
Shade is not the sun's opposite
shade is the second light.
Creativity is a boat
sailing to no harbour.
Translated from the Arabic by Mirene Ghossein