Short Stories



We returned to the house with the wise-man walking briskly ahead of us until he was almost out of sight. In that moment, when the poet appeared pure and conscious, I asked him about the wise-man and his own presence at the spring – whether it was purely a coincidence. The poet opened his eyes wide and appeared to be shocked by the question. Then he let loose for a moment or two as if he was pulling a thread from his memory. He related this tale to me as we walked:

The wise-man was very thirsty due to his fasting but he was enjoying his thirst mixed with perseverance and was able to feel the sweetness present in the bitterness of starvation. He was passing through dried villages and was trying to understand the meaning of thirst through its opposite, which is refection. He asked: Does the river quench the thirst of the sea when it flows from the high mountains and passes through plains only to mix in the hollow of the sea after journeying through half the earth? Or is it a self-destructing trip of adventure for the sweet water which longs to be with its salty counterpart and thus covers long distances, even half the earth, only to return and meet the sea all over again? Or is it that the opposites simply attract each other i.e. the sweet water is attracted towards its salty opposite? Or do they repel? Then what about the clouds which are water deposits suspended in the air? Do they desire starvation and thus travel to faraway deserts to empty their loads in those dry lands? Who is the one who attracts the other in the game of water which flows on the earth? The wise-man did not have any choice but to ask since he did not know whether the answer he had in mind was correct or no. He did not know that is the incorrect an opposite of the correct or its other half. 

Once, the wise-man stopped by in a deserted village and tried to sleep under a dried tree whose branches had completely dried in the vast land. But, light raindrops were enough to awaken him so that he could witness the re-blooming of the flower and the birth of a live rosebud from a dead branch. That moment led him towards a unique enlightenment which helped him bind the boundaries of life and death together. He saw that life and death are not opposites as most people believe rather they are a part of a continuous process whose exterior changes with time but its quintessence persists and cannot be changed or modified. Then the wise-man did not know whether death came from birth or birth came from death? As usual, he did not care much about the answer, like he treats all other questions of similar genre.

Then the wise-man passed through a village which was inhabited by beggars. He saw tears falling from the eyes of its residents which prompted him to ask: Just like the cloud quenches the thirst of land, indeed tears quench the thirst of something else which is present in the inside of perseverant souls. In a tangible sense, tears take up a physical form but their origin is abstract – from the heart. Then the wise-man rose atop a stone in the middle of the village and began to deliver an oration amidst the people regarding the value of a tear and its meanings. But, the people left him standing there. They scattered in different directions in search of wisdom in the nature, the sky and in the far away stars but not from the mouths of wise-men. 

After 21 days of continuous fasting, the wise-man reached a spring of water in the middle of the land and after sipping the sweet water he wrote his huge poem entitled, ‘Refection’.

Says the wise-man’s poem:

“My eyes are filled with scenes of light

My heart is filled with the love for the world

The wolves howl at the far-away moon and I am like them

I cry, ‘O eternal and initial origin of my soul!’

O ‘Question’

Take me unto you so that I may drink from the sweetness of meanings,

Transcending the illusion of opposites.”


 Adel Khozam, United Arab Emirates

Translated: Juzer Hakimuddin




Adel Khozam (Dubai – UAE) is a highly respected and admired poet, composer & journalist from Dubai - United Arab Emirates. He is very much involved in both the Arab and international poetry scene, as his poems were translated into several languages. Author of 15 books. In 2021, he was awarded the SILVER SHIELD by the World Hispanic Union of Writers for his distinguished work in favor of education, culture, art, poetry, literature and peace with social justice in the five continents.  In 2022, he created the World Poetry Tree, an anthology of hope, love and peace in Expo Dubai 2020 with more than 400 international poets participants.