Rose DeMaris

by May Ziadeh (Tr. by Rose DeMaris)

Dreaming, I leave footprints
in the places
where you passed,

hide my heart under
disheveled branches,
tangled in love.

This bough looks like
my old friend’s smile,
charming and tender

in a photograph.
Evening, thick with echoes,
tugs my soul toward

blue, to the realm of
those I’ve lost.
This is the hour of dusk

when Rousseau shivered,
when Poe pondered the dead,
and Baudelaire

Under the sea’s blanket
a ripe fruit slowly falls

asleep, even prettier now
than in the morning.
And night’s peeled apple

rises over a mountain:
sweet, shining moon!
My young heart falters

under the weight of this
beauty, too much,
too much, and the mystery of

the darkening
Suddenly these tears,

tears misunderstood,
tears of a child
without brother or sister,

slip from my shut eyes.



by May Ziadeh

Très lentement mon pas rêveur
Marque le sol de vos allées;
Et je marche, étreignant mon coeur,
Sous vos branches échevelées;
S’enlacant amoureusement,
Dans les festoons de leur feuillage
A moi sourit comme une image
D’ami lointain tendre et charmant.

…Et c’est le sir…et le silence
Avec ses échos assoupis
Coule dans mon âme en partance
Vers un ciel de rêves amis.
Ah! c’est l’heure crépusculaire
Oui faisat frissonner Rousseau,
Où songeait aux morts Edgar Poe,
L’heure où méditait Baudelaire…

Sous le linceul du flot lointain
Disparait l’ardente prunella
Du soleil, si gaie au matin,
Mais à cette heure bien plus belle!
Et la prunella de la nuit
Se lève haut sur la montagne,
Eclairant la vaste campagne;
C’est la douce lune qui luit!

Et mon coeur si jeune se serre
Sous la splendeur de ce beau soir…
L’ombre lui pèse et le mystère
Du monde lui semble trop noir…
Et des larmes, sans juste cause,
Larmes d’une incomprise peur,
Larmes d’enfant sans frère ou soeur,
Glissent sur ma paupière close…



May Ziadeh (1886–1941) was a multilingual Lebanese-Palestinian poet, novelist, essayist, translator, intellectual, and feminist who passionately advocated for the emancipation and education of Arab girls and women. Born in Nazareth to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, she received a French-Catholic education in Lebanon, and spent most of her adulthood in Cairo, where she earned a university degree in Modern Languages. A highly prolific writer, she also she hosted a famous weekly literary salon for two decades, catalyzing conversations among many of the greatest minds of her time and place. May’s literary debut, a feverishly imaginative poetry collection called Fleurs de Réve, was published under the pen name Isis Copia when she was 25 years old; “Twilight” is from that book.

Rose DeMaris is a poet, novelist, and essayist of partial Lebanese heritage. Her creative translations of May Ziadeh’s poems are the first to be published in English. Her original poems appear in in New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, Narrative, and elsewhere, and she was the recipient of Orison Books’ 2022 Best Spiritual Literature Award in Poetry. She holds advanced degrees in English and Native American Studies, as well as an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, where she was a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow. A Southern California native, she went on to spend many years in Montana, and now lives in Brooklyn.