Monday, May 23, 2022 | Shawwal 21, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Seeking Shelter in Gloom

A Window into Contemporary Omani Literature

The following are translations of poems by the Omani poet Hilal Al Hajri (1968-) from his first collection titled: “Night Is Mine”, (Muscat: 2006):


1-


Al Wasil


My village, Al Wasil ,


Is a Trojan horse


Running without reins to Doomsday.


How could I even catch its tail,


I, the armless, with one foot in the mud


And the other drowned


By the vanity of knowledge?


2-


Abu Nuwas


From temple to tavern


Won't you wait


Till Wodhu on your forehead dries?


Like a tear on the cheek,


Like the coyness dot,


On a virgin forehead


My steps take me towards


It


Without my knowing.


3-


Vanity


Shiny


Juicy


Bodies


Were created for nothing


But to be penetrated by -me-


Through the lightning of my eyes.


Shiny bodies


Arriving and departing


Leaving behind my heart


As sap for other bodies.


4-


Alone


He squeezes cans


Declaring their end


Like a god squeezing souls to their


Doom


And chews his loneliness


In classic fashion


Like a proficient prostitute.


The self-same who once thought


He'd swallowed all the wisdom tablets.


5


Seeking Shelter in Gloom


At the dead of night


I'm the one


Who sinks solo into bed


Like an orphan


Like a spear.


Oh God for anything


To cram my wasteland in


Even were it the size of the navel!


... Oh no my God


More gloom!


No tree


Could shelter me from this flood


Except for my long gloom!


6


Durham


In Durham


Temple of the saints


And postgraduates,


Every night


He returns alone


Proud of his sadness


Rejects a glance


Even to the pavement


Who'd shelter this desert man?


Will he nibble at his fingers


Or take the pillow as his sweetheart?


7-


Surrender


I'll burn out tonight


Very early.


Nothing would seduce me


To wrestle tonight.


Off you go,


You the black giant


How could my little body


Resist your tyranny?


I left you for pimps and adulterers of the night


For spies and intellectuals


For brokers and worshippers


For all your old wrestlers!


I myself


Will leave and kiss


The first star in my village


And nap


Like an orphan child.


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