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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

A Jewel in a Black Autumn
A Window into Contemporary Omani Literature

The following are translations of poems from Zahir Al Ghafri’s collection: “Whenever an Angel Appeared in the Fort”, (Beirut: 2008):


A Jewel in a Black Autumn


She didn't feel the rain


On the edge of her forelock


Nor did she feel the wind


That raised the laughter's ring


A little higher


Like the ring of an angel in the forest.


She'd walk


As if in another life.


She thought only of a chair behind the window


To rest on


And watch a man pass by


A man she can ask


To the bed of her desire


Lit by tears and flowers.


But you who pass by


At this moment


You're the victim


Dreaming of drowsiness and flower.


You who came from distant hills


In the night of despair


With two hands


Longing to swim in fancy's fountain.


You look for a jewel in a black autumn


You're the one chosen by chance


To cross the ordeal


To test the beauty sleeping there


Behind the lofty pillars of fog.


The Blaze of Signs


The desert!


It happens only there!


That's what I said.


It happens only beneath a lonely and lofty tree.


Her face shines


Luminous like a saintly halo


Or a portrait from a mirror that can't be seen.


She talks to herself


As if between us a sea’s yearning


Yet the same agony!


Her talk crawls to the world's edges


On the rhythm of a magic breeze


Like a dream at midnight.


She talks about vice's flowers


In fantasy's wasteland


About the pain that leaves a trace


On doors and windows


About the secret's flash


In the face of a missing angel


About ladders circled by fire.


Is she asleep or are her eyes just closed?


I know not.


Her words flow


With all earth's signals


As if she looked for gold's glitter


In the bed of a mine.


Every sign from her head


Crowns an early and sure loss.


She calls me to her desert


Her ancestors' paradise


Surrounded by creation's lights


But I cannot.


The desert


The woman alone beneath the tree


My dreams


My dreams are enclosed by a blaze of signs.


Where the Light Fell


The one who was never


Where


The


Light fell


When you knocked the door


That wouldn't open.


In your hand is despair's flower


You who've come from afar


From the mountains whose summits blaze


With travelers' fires


As if at this evening you're the rendezvous of the Resurrection.


There


Before the doors that won't open


You stand with the rose of death in your hand.


Listen to music


It's coming from your life's garden


From the threshold of hellfire till the last breath.


You're a different man now


For the word is your guide to the wasteland.


Where the light falls


Before doors that won't open


Let yourself be seen


While an angel baffled at the threshold


Carrying sins' rose


For your life is a lock and key


A myth and legend.


O boy


The boy who was


The boy who never was


Do you want more?


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