Saturday, August 20, 2022 | Muharram 21, 1444 H
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32°C / 32°C

Like a mountain bird...

The following are translations of poems by the Omani poet Hilal al Hajri (1958) from his collection titled: “Like a Mountain Bird Watching the Collapse of the World”, (Beirut 2013).

A Wish

If only men were made of sea haze

Before the sunset

If only they weren’t made of clay!

The Interior of Oman

Even the storms that hit Oman

Had a colonial bent:

They’d lop off noses and ears

From Mosera to Qalhat and Muscat

And the Indian Ocean would devour them

They certainly read the map of Albuquerque

Though the Interior was fortified by

Its mountains and sorcerers

Feared by empires and storms!

The Literati

The bowels of a hypocritical whale

On the beach

The seagulls scramble for

With style and character

Are better than a mouse’s carrion

The literati bite

Their saliva flowing to their knees!

The Strange Woman

I love you

I yearn for you

O strange woman

I’ve no way to reach you

To give you a birthday gift or flower

But I won’t hesitate a moment

To pluck my soul

And send it by post

A sacrifice to your sacred love.

A Letter to Federico Garcia Lorca

O Lorca

My tear

Descended on the drinking table

Who fathoms it?

Who weighs it?

Give me a splinter

From the bullet that pierced your betrayed heart.

I want to die

With the taste of revolution

And the sweetness of outburst on my tongue.

In the Last Part of the Night

Glory to you O crescent

I see you between curtain and wall

Just like a scythe

About to cut this pale sky.

Lost Bedouin

O clouds

Flock together

Quench this heart, thirsty since Adam

I seek your help


In the black sinews of this wasteland

Let your tears rain

With pity and mercy

On this lost Bedouin

Who’s burning on the embers of loss

A single drop

A single drop might moisten his throat

To start screaming again

Amidst this chaos.


I’m but a bullet in the heart of this darkness

I trace the light of revolution and the impossible

But I may hit against a fort or lighthouse!

My love

Let the light of your face

Be the Mecca of this believer!

A Letter from Cambridge

Arabia is the land of fault

Where the prophets were sent

Their followers fight with bells and minarets

But here in Cambridge

There’s but



And salvation!

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