Cajoling the Sun

I cajole the sun

come now, don’t be angry.

my child Hasan is afraid

not yet accustomed to cajoling the sun.


Whatever tales I narrate

and sing

the sun still smoulders

in its wrath.


Let us blame war music

at dusk

all the figures of a thousand and one nights

solitude of a thousand tongues

slaking thirst

wailing, pleading

for what remains of the sun’s mercy.


Just this

I say:

go to hell all dreams.

I give up hope. Never mind, Hasan,

let us resume our journey.


Zahid M. Naser
Translated from the Malay by Pauline Fan