Maen Abdussalam


Beyond the words and the angst,

Beyond the effort and the noise,

There is a silence becoming clearer… growing… becoming clearer.

And there is an ant, recently born, who still cannot walk without stumbling. All creatures have gone to sleep as she stumbles on. All creatures awake to find her feeling sorry for herself.

Her mother tells her: “This is a hand, this is a foot, and this is an antenna for feeling your way.”

Her name is Ant and she likes to count the words and names she has just learned: a daisy, a violet, wild thyme, Mother, Father, ants, watery drops…


And the drops fall calmly, rhythmically, the grass blades begin to dance to its tunes, and the flowers begin to undulate with its currents and its hallucinations. While the earth is gladdened as it is perfumed with the most refreshing aromas.

And there is Ant sitting under a green blade of grass, which she has just named: “umbrella,” contemplating the watery drops, and calling them: “Rain.”

Shortly, there will be golden threads, shining, weaving their way among the flowers of the forest towards a cheerful, though confused, Ant, whose mother will eventually find her, embrace her, and take her back to her home in the roots of a flowery tree.

“Mother, Mother, this is rain.”

“Yes, it is rain.”

“Real rain… water falling from the sky.”

“Yes, rain… real rain.”

The green grass grows and gets so long that its tops dive beyond the line of sight. Little Ant climbs a small blade, reaches its hollow part, and sits there waiting for the silvery colors of night, which she likes above all other colors.

A meteor passes from afar, its head bright crimson, its body refreshing orange, its tail pink, dragging with it the heart.

All creatures lie still now, still and silent, trapped in the tower of absolute darkness. All but the wondrous cricket who can never stop singing and calling. And, should he develop a longing inside of him, he will chant and intoxicate, and no one in the forest will ever know for whom he is singing.

The stars come out, one after the other, slowly and shyly. Before them the Moon has taken center stage in his heavenly domain.

The silvery threads became woven and elongated, until they reach the treetops and throw their mantle over the faces of the roses.

Ant, enchanted by all that is taking place around her, is still playing the naming-game: “a star,” “a moon,” “a sky,” “a tree,” “an ant”…


A sad and lost Ant walks along the hollows of a blade. Never in her life has she thought about the meaning of: “Ant.”

This is a rose-tree in the roots of which we live, and from the nectar of which we drink.

This is a sky, blue in the morning, and in the evening draped in black.

But “ant,” what does that mean?

Ant encounters a dew-drop.

“Dew-Drop, o Dew-Drop, they call me Ant. Do you know what it means, Dew-Drop?”

But the Dew-Drop, forever silent, does not reply, and betrays no signs of movement.

“I am afraid, Dew-Drop, confused, for I don’t know what Ant means.”

But at this moment, and between the sadness, the pain, and the tears swell up confused Ant’s eyes, a silvery thread reaches Lady Dew-Drop, making her glow and shine, turning her into a beautiful mirror.

Ant, through the layers of mist in her eyes, takes notice of the dew-drop-mirror in front of her. And she sees the two eyes, the blackness of which can absorb all light, the two thin eyebrows, the soft brown face, like the petal of an acorn, and the body like the beads of the feast put together.

“This is a hand, this is a foot, and this is an antenna with which I can feel my way.”

This is what it means. This is who I am—Ant.

A bright smile envelops the heart of Ant, who thanks Dew-Drop for her favor, and begins to descend, from the Hollows of the blade, going to where her parents live, eager to rejoin her kind.

*** *** ***

Translation by Ammar Abdulhamid


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