Tuesday, December 06, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 11, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Life Slipping Slyly

A Window into Contemporary Omani Literature

In an earlier column titled “Hard Imagery and Sharp Language” I introduced a series of short poems by the pioneering Omani poet Saif Al Rahbi. Arguably, the most salient feature of those poems was the suddenness and the freshness of their endings. This feature is no less salient in the following short poems from the same collection: A Man from the Empty Quarter (Beirut in 1994).


(1)


Life slyly slips from my hand


After I clung on it.


I stare at it


Turn from the heel of my evening


To my first cup


To chase her like a huntsman


The start of a galaxy's birth in my head.


(2)


I seek shelter


From the palm tree of the past


Sneak into the dreams of those sleeping


On roofs dazzled by sun and breeze


I inspect my memory' citizens


Like a commander inspecting his troops


That ran away from slaughter.


(3)


The key to abyss is a cup of wine:


That's the life we steal


From the wolf’s mouth.


(4)


Like prayers, stars have their own chapels


We saw them in their luminous mihraab


The shooting stars sank in our eyes


Like large needles from travelling light


We didn’t fathom immortality.


(5)


An Iraqi


Bends to pick up a date


In the wind of exile


Remembering Iraq's dates.


(6)


We're not stupid


We’re not doves of war


We shall plow this injury


Till the last tear in the horizon.


(7)


Like a churn


The sky verges on explosion


Thunderbolts and hailstones


But it doesn't brighten.


(8)


The past is before us like some polar islands,


Where the ice melts


In installments.


(9)


We owe nobody


But our bereaved feet owe distances.


(10)


A kind hand stretches with father-like love


Takes us to it


While calamities picnic on the pavement.


(11)


I saw the shooting stars cry


On my father's farm


The storm of clouds and the fainting of orbits.


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