Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | Jumada al-akhirah 22, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Clinging to a moon dangling from the head of an orphan tree

The following are translations of poems by the Omani poet Abdullah al Balushi (1967) from his collection titled: “Crossing Solitude’s Bar” (Muscat 1994).


Elegies


To Al Hallaj


(1) In the grandeur of the dawn


Tranquillity begot you


While the night was bathing


In virgin water.


(2) Don’t shed my blood


Don’t blend it with your faults’ ashes.


I want to die at night


When the universe resorts to silence.


(3) Clothed with death, the night descends


Here’s your mother


Staring at your crystal soul.


She’ll bemoan you


As she returns from unfinished wars,


The bereaved saints at night


Will cry for you in the ecstasy of absence.


(4) O lamb


Didn’t you feed their dead children?


When the soul slumbered


In its long night


They forgot your bleeding cries


They burned your sacred bread.


(5) Behind you is a thirsty flower


Its sick trunk


You yesterday watered


Behind you the orphan’s hut


And the bird’s cage


Behind you a dawn dying


Behind you a sparrow you nursed yesterday


Behind you the whirl of winter.


(6) Let your town sleep now


Let it sleep in your roaming soul


Let the migrants pass on your love strings


Let the night hymns sleep


Your bewildered town will remain


Like a sore ready to explode.


Solitude


Solitude is the cradle of fear,


Just like that,


One day the sky will open for me


Like a flower pouring with blood.


Solitude (2)


Alone


I consort with the night


At my mother’s grave


Alone


I recite an elegy for the saints


Alone


Darkness embraces me.


Absence


The rock that broke my head


Yesterday


Should be smashed today.


The air scratches that cloud’s face.


When I strike against the desert


My lip looms hanging on the horizon


The mountains raise me anew


To cling to a moon


Dangling from the head of an orphan tree


In the sea’s face.


***


Yesterday


Counting the desert as soul’s mother


I measured distance


Like a wandering hermit.


Yesterday


I fell upon a spot that for centuries


Sucked travellers’ tears.


****


Under an old cover I left my memory


Bitten by rats in the daylight.


Nothing is there in my body save Allah


And remnants of fear.


From a knoll, like a sharp arrow


I plucked my body


Became like a leper


Yet the earth will come anew


She’s but my mother


I’m but a flower rooted


In saints’ gravestones


And blessed by the skies.


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