Shafie is an Egyptian poet, novelist, and translator, author of And Other Poems (2009) and the novel The Creator (2013). He’s also translated work by Charles Simic, Billy Collins, Lucille Clifton, and others into Arabic.
The newly translated poems open:
In his other life Issa wished to be a white butterfly and when he had achieved that, wished to be a cherry blossom.
The cherry blossom remembered that Issa had never in his life picked a blossom, for which reason he was a fool.
It thought: that which wished to be a white butterfly was a fool and that which wished to be a cherry blossom was a fool.
The cherry blossom wished that somebody might pick it and did not know if this was a natural thing for cherry blossoms to feel.
Also translated by Robin Moger: