The poems published in my last column titled “Migrants Fleeing Slaughter” were by the poet Saif Al Rahbi. His name was dropped by mistake.
The following are translations of poems by the Omani poet Hilal Al Hajri (1968-) from his collection titled: “Like a Mountain Bird Watching the Collapse of the World”, (Beirut 2013):
Crying on this naked tree for spring
Does this dove know
I long for you as camels do for leaving?
I've just decided to track this river.
With my unhurried steps
I'll seek its genesis
And will find you there
Bathing in the fountain of beauty and purity.
Only then will I know I've reached
O injured child,
I'll trace your steps
Next to the river
In fields and on pavements.
I’ll show them my yeaning
Ask them to keep my heart
Broken like glass
Every step has its share of blood and tears!
Pride of palms
Memories of childhood playgrounds
Yearning of narrow alleys
Cooing of doves drunk at dawn
Scent of trees
Smell of clay in valleys
Greetings of kindly town folk
These’re the wealth I reaped from a quick walk
After dawn prayers in my town, "Al Waasil"
A wealth I shall always cherish.
I greet you
Give you this earth that flows in my blood
Embrace her with your mighty haughtiness
Pour on her sparks of care and nobility
Don't leave it for night brokers and pimps
Shed upon her
Even if a single tear
To purify her from the wreck.
A Call for Help
Stroking the skies of the Arabian Sea
Far away from the dreams of simple folk
O sacred haze
I call on you all
With God's 99 names
Fill my lungs with freedom.
It's gloomy and dark
The ghosts toy with the dawn’s lines.
Kingdom of rivers and tender skies
Temple of knowledge and meditation
Chorus of wine and rain
Brimming with defiance and dalliance
I trust to you my wild days
Days I spilled over your alleys and riverbanks.
Remember this, my mellow girl:
I wasn't like your stupid tourists
Busy with museums and mummies
I was true to life
And penetrated your mysterious charms!
1* According to the Islamic tradition, God has 99 names (or attributes). Muslims are urged to repeat those names all the time (the translator).