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

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).


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 is the cradle of fear,

Just like that,

One day the sky will open for me

Like a flower pouring with blood.

Solitude (2)


I consort with the night

At my mother’s grave


I recite an elegy for the saints


Darkness embraces me.


The rock that broke my head


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.



Counting the desert as soul’s mother

I measured distance

Like a wandering hermit.


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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