“And At Last The Best Excuse” by Omar Sabbagh

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by Omar Sabbagh

31 March 2020 | 15:37

Source: by Annahar

  • by Omar Sabbagh
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 31 March 2020 | 15:37

This file photo shows a picture of the Lebanese British poet Omar Sabbagh.

For Faten and Alia

You tell these stories.

You tell these wonderful stories to

ward off the ghosts.

In the courts of this small heaven where

cleverness is fairer and more

bright in the light of heaven where

you can only plead you possessed

always the best

story or

stories here’s

the trump card

to ward off all the rest.

That she chose me above all

and that I chose her

above all. In life

you see many things like this

flowering of jasmine

and sage

and they’re like a deuce

of lives

found once more at that


the ground zero of

true money that survives

the other that can’t.

So now to the bigger pictures

of mine of yours

and now

to the way we may

come to protect in

drums the innocence

of all that’s ours

right of way and right

of way.

I’m speaking now

at the bottom of the sunlight

of a new and ailing


She tells me this story

that I adore.

It speaks with this lyrical boast

against all the more

prosy ghosts

I have felt like violent silk

here for too long

so long.

So when he tells these wondrous

stories perhaps it’s because

the good intention and

the bad

walk with the same calm motive


the good and the bad

come and go

resolved and dressed

again at the fundament

of the most redolent

and resonant

and vital story.

That God after all is love.

Omar Sabbagh is a widely published Lebanese British poet, writer and critic. His poetry has appeared in many prestigious venues, such as: Agenda, Banipal, Kenyon Review Online, PN Review, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Stand, The Moth, The Reader Magazine, The Warwick Review, The Wolf, (T&F) New Writing, New Humanist, Two Thirds North, and Acumen, among many others. His first collection and his fourth collection are, respectively: My Only Ever Oedipal Complaint and To The Middle of Love (Cinnamon Press, 2010/17). His 5th collection, But It Was An Important Failure, was published with Cinnamon Press at the start of 2020. His Beirut novella, Via Negativa: A Parable of Exile, was published with Liquorice Fish Books in March 2016; and he has published much short fiction, some of it prize-winning. His Dubai novella, Minutes from the Miracle City was published with Fairlight Books in July 2019. A study of the oeuvre of Professor Fiona Sampson is forthcoming with Anthem Press in June 2020. He was Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the American University of Beirut (AUB), from 2011-2013. Presently, he teaches at the American University in Dubai (AUD), where he is Associate Professor of English. http://www.omarsabbagh.me/index.php

Welcome to Carpe Diem, Annahar's new literary section featuring poetry- old and new, published or hidden within the nooks of unveiled pages of Lebanese writers. We welcome all contributions with the caveat that the section hopes to see rawness and authenticity in thought and emotion. Please send inquiries to Carpe Diem editor kantarjianperla@gmail.com

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