Larbi asked me to edit this collection in English. I tried my best and was honoured but of course what remains silent is the space between Arabic and English. My attempts to bridge the tone was supported by poetry’s largesse of reach and those universal resonances in the very human journey of love.
This collection is a deeply personal testament of a period in Larbi’s life. The words plumb the depths of longing unfulfilled to the resentment of betrayal.
Wolf’s smile chills and allures equally. Coal Balls cries for time to slow and ease its exacting price. The reader is shown the writer’s supplication in Peregrinate Body and awed stillness in Birch Tree Hymn.
Black Swallow Tail shows the interface between the old and new, the timelessness of love while pricking western sensibilities.
All through out these poems sing the ancient hymns of the Atlas Mountains and footfalls of the Berber in a modern era of liberal hearts and minds to choose and the uncertainties which newer traditions of freedom bring. A journey of exhilarating highs and devastating lows which only the heart can sustain are candidly poured out in Larbi’s verse.
by Clare (CL) Rolfe