Monday, May 16, 2022 | Shawwal 14, 1443 H
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A window into contemporary Omani literature...

Interested in the discourse of orientalism, Hilal al Hajri has written extensively on Western travel in the Arab world

Hilal al Hajri is a contemporary Omani researcher, translator as well as a poet. He served as a professor of Arabic literature and travel writing at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University for over a decade.

Interested in the discourse of orientalism, he has written extensively on Western travel in the Arab world. Perhaps the title of his masterpiece “British Travel Writing on Oman, Orientalism Reappraised” encapsulates the geography of his scholarly interests.

Published by Peter Lang, International Academic Publishers in 2006, this book traces the writings of British travellers’ for over three centuries, (roughly from the 17th Century to 1970).

In 2010, he was honoured by the GCC ministers of culture for his “outstanding” contribution to translation, and in 2020 His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik bestowed upon him the Order of Appreciation for Good Civil Service (Second Class).

Till date he has published two poetry collections: “Night Is Mine” (Muscat 2006) and “Like a Mountain Bird Watching the Collapse of the World” (Beirut 2013). By and large, Al Hajri’s poetry is characterised by such a sense of freshness and sincerity that touches the heart, as can be felt in the following translations from his second collection.


You're there

A moon lighting up the gloom of the world

I'm here

Collecting my soul's scattered parts

To offer them as sacrifice

To your sacred love.

Depths’ Call

Glory to you

O ancient sea

There's a distant light

Shining in your soul

Lend me a flash from it.

O Sir

Let it be a shooting star's spark

Or the gleam of a pirate's gold tooth

Or whatever I light up with my dark caves.

To A Friend

My friend,

Cling to joy's fringes

Behind you is an abyss

Of anarchy and nothingness.

Believe me

I'm the naked prophet.

A Lover Looming as Light

Nothing can portray how much I need you

More than a plant panting

In a recess of sand

For life.

Like a Mountain Bird

Here I am



Ascending the divine throne

Like a mountain bird watching the collapse of the world

Below the mountainside.


Here are the Bedouin

Desert children and wolves

Squatting in the mosque.

The Friday preacher stuffs them

With sermons on nationality

And the comfort of a kingdom to come.

Omani Turbans

The tongues of sea waves are



Just like the turbans of our Omani ancestors

They purify the earth

Enlighten hearts.

A Good Citizen


Noble rebel

Friend of wolves and jackals

Lord of the Empty Quarter's wilderness

Prophet of revolution and apocalypse

Here I am

Waiting for my turn

To get the right to good citizenship.

A Cloud

To whom shall I dedicate this lost cloud?

In this rebellious morning

I see her



Eyeing the earth wryly

It refuses to spit on these cattle!

The Morning Star

Omanis long slept away

From the morning star.

I see her there in the east

A spear distant from the Arabian Sea

I see gods bathing

In a pool of a true dawn.

Isn't there a knight

To snatch this candlestick

And lead us to glory?!

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