The Fortune Teller

Nizar Qabbani

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She sat with fear in her eyes

Contemplating the upturned cup

She said "Do not be sad, my son

You are destined to fall in love"

My son, Who sacrifices himself for his beloved,

Is a martyr


For long have I studied fortune-telling

But never have I read a cup similar to yours

For long have I studied fortune-telling

But never have I seen sorrows similar to yours

You are predestined to sail forever

Sail-less, on the sea of love

Your life is forever destined

To be a book of tears

And be imprisoned

Between water and fire


But despite all its pains,

Despite the sadness

That is with us day and night

Despite the wind

The rainy weather

And the cyclone

It is love, my son

That will be forever the best of fates


There is a woman in your life, my son

Her eyes are so beautiful

Glory to God

Her mouth and her laughter

Are full of roses and melodies

And her gypsy and crazy love of life

Travels the world

The woman you love

May be your whole world

But your sky will be rain-filled

Your road blocked, blocked, my son

Your beloved, my son, is sleeping

In a guarded palace

He who approaches her garden wall

Who enters her room

And who proposes to her

Or tries to unite her plaits

Will cause her to be lost, my son...lost


You will seek her everywhere, my son

You will ask the waves of the sea about her

You will ask the shores of the seas

You will travel the oceans

And your tears will flow like a river

And at the close of your life

You will find that since your beloved

Has no land, no home, no address

You have been pursuing only a trace of smoke

How difficult it is, my son

To love a woman

Who has neither land, nor home

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