Dunya Mikhail nasceu em 1965, em Bagdá, no Iraque. Formada em Literatura Inglesa pela Universidade de Bagdá e com mestrado em Literaturas Orientais pela Wayne State University, trabalhou como jornalista e tradutora, dedicando-se como escritora à poesia. Hoje é considerada uma das grandes poetas contemporâneas de língua árabe. Em 2020, Dunya Mikhail recebeu o Prêmio Unesco-Sharjah para a Cultura Árabe.

Aqui na Tabla, Dunya publicou A tatuagem de pássaro, primeiro romance escrito pela autora,, livro que foi finalista do Intenational Prize for Arabic Fiction em 2021. Em 1995, Mikhail deixou o Iraque e, depois de uma passagem pela Jordânia, mudou-se para os Estados Unidos, onde vive até hoje e leciona Língua e Literatura Árabes na Oakland University, em Michigan.

Saiba mais sobre A tatuagem de pássaro aqui!

A Tabla separou 3 poemas de Dunya Mikhail pra você conhecer, um deles traduzido. Confira:

A Guerra Trabalha Duro

Dunya Mikhail


Quão magnífica é a guerra!

Quão ávida

e eficiente!

De manhã cedo

ela acorda as sirenes

e despacha ambulâncias

para vários lugares

balança cadáveres pelo ar

rola macas para os feridos

convoca chuva

dos olhos das mães

cava na terra

desalojando muitas coisas

de debaixo das ruínas…

Algumas estão sem vida e brilhantes

outras estão pálidas e ainda latejando…

Produz a maioria das perguntas

na mente das crianças

diverte os deuses

disparando fogos de artifício e mísseis

no céu

semeia minas nos campos

e colhe furos e bolhas

exorta as famílias a emigrar

fica ao lado dos clérigos

enquanto eles amaldiçoam o diabo

(pobre diabo, ele permanece

com uma mão no fogo ardente)…

A guerra continua trabalhando, dia e noite.

Ela inspira tiranos

a fazer longos discursos

entrega medalhas a generais

e temas para poetas

contribui para a indústria

de membros artificiais

fornece comida para moscas

acrescenta páginas aos livros de história

realiza a igualdade

entre assassino e assassinado

ensina os amantes a escrever cartas

acostuma as jovens a esperar

enche os jornais

com artigos e fotos

constrói novas casas

para os órfãos

revigora os fabricantes de caixões

dá aos coveiros

um tapinha nas costas

e pinta um sorriso no rosto do líder.

Funciona com diligência inigualável!

No entanto, ninguém lhe dá

uma palavra de elogio.

The War Works Hard

Traduzido por Elizabeth Winslow

New Directions, New York, 2005

How magnificent the war is!

How eager

and efficient!

Early in the morning

it wakes up the sirens

and dispatches ambulances

to various places

swings corpses through the air

rolls stretchers to the wounded

summons rain

from the eyes of mothers

digs into the earth

dislodging many things

from under the ruins…

Some are lifeless and glistening

others are pale and still throbbing…

It produces the most questions

in the minds of children

entertains the gods

by shooting fireworks and missiles

into the sky

sows mines in the fields

and reaps punctures and blisters

urges families to emigrate

stands beside the clergymen

as they curse the devil

(poor devil, he remains

with one hand in the searing fire)…

The war continues working, day and night.

It inspires tyrants

to deliver long speeches

awards medals to generals

and themes to poets

it contributes to the industry

of artificial limbs

provides food for flies

adds pages to the history books

achieves equality

between killer and killed

teaches lovers to write letters

accustoms young women to waiting

fills the newspapers

with articles and pictures

builds new houses

for the orphans

invigorates the coffin makers

gives grave diggers

a pat on the back

and paints a smile on the leader’s face.

It works with unparalleled diligence!

Yet no one gives it

a word of praise.

Leia também: Orelha: A Tatuagem de Pássaro


In Her Feminine Sign, New Directions, New York, 2019.

Tablets V


Light falls from her voice

and I try to catch it as the last

light of the day fades …

But there is no form to touch,

no pain to trace.


Are dreams

taking their seats

on the night train?


She recites a list of wishes

to keep him from dying.


The truth lands like a kiss—

sometimes like a mosquito,

sometimes like a lantern.


Your coffee-colored skin

awakens me to the world.


We have only one minute

and I love you.


All children are poets

until they quit the habit

of reaching for butterflies

that are not there.


The moment you thought you lost me,

you saw me clearly

with all of my flowers,

even the dried ones.


If you pronounce all letters

and vowels at once,

you would hear their names

falling drop by drop

with the rain.


We carved

our ancestral trees into boats.

The boats sailed into harbors

that looked safe from afar.


Trees talk to each other

like old friends

and don’t like to be interrupted.

They follow anyone who

cuts one of them,

turning that person

into a lonely cut branch.

Is this why in Arabic

we say “cut of a tree”

when we mean

“having no one”?


The way roots hide

under trees—

there are secrets,

faces, and wind

behind the colors

in Rothko’s untitled canvases.


Will the sea forget its waves,

as caves forgot us?


Back when there was no language

they walked until sunset

carrying red leaves

like words to remember.


It’s true that pain

is like air, available


but we each feel

our pain hurts the most.


So many of them died

under stars

that don’t know their names.


If she just survived with me.


A flame dims in the fireplace,

a day slips quietly away from the calendar,

and Fairuz sings, “They say love kills time,

and they also say time kills love.”


The street vendor offers tourists

necklaces with divided hearts,

seashells to murmur the sea’s secrets in your ear,

squishy balls to make you feel better,

maps of homelands you fold

in your pocket as you go on your way.


I am haunted by the melody

of a forgotten song

sung while two hands

tied my shoelaces into a ribbon

and waved me goodbye to school.


If I could photocopy

the moment we met

I would find it full

of all the days and nights.


It won’t forget the faraway child,

that city whose door stayed open

for passersby, tourists, and invaders.


The moon is going to the other

side of the world

to call my loved ones.


The seasons change

colors and you come and go.

What color is your departure?

Leia também: “A tatuagem de pássaro”: entrevista com a tradutora Beatriz Gemignani


The Stranger in Her Feminine Sign

Everything has gender

in Arabic.

History is male.

Fiction is female.

Dream is male.

Wish is female.

Feminine words are followed

by a circle with two dots over.

They call it the tied circle,

knotted with wishes

which come true only when forgotten

or replaced by the wishes of others.

In the town of tied wishes,

people feel great anticipation

because a stranger will arrive

today in her feminine sign.

Someone says he saw her

two dots glittering,

refuting another’s vision

of a cat’s eyes hunting in darkness.

So scary, he says, how the moon

hides in her red circle.

Everyone is busy today

listing wishes on pieces

of paper they’ll give to the wind.

When the stranger finds them

on her way, she’ll collect them

and garland them to her circle,

tossing some old wishes

to make space for the new.

They say the dropped ones

will come true.

The stranger’s lateness

worries the waiting.

Someone says she’s searching

for a word to complete

a special sentence,

the gift she’ll bring to town.

Another wonders if she seeks

a verb or a noun,

offering to find her.

A third warns that the stranger

may turn him into a flower

with one touch, blooming

for only a moment,

before a withering death,

and her circle throbs with songs

causing sadness and elation,

and something so obscure

no one has a name for it.

Will she complete a verb

or a noun phrase — or give a solo,

a word complete on its own?

They wonder.

When they finally hear footsteps,

they know the stranger must be near.

Make sure the gate is open,

they remind one another.

They hear clinking — 

A bracelet? A chain?

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