Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Shawwal 17, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Ode to the Sand Lady

A Window into Contemporary Omani Literature

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


Ode to the Sand Lady


Where're you taking my soul?


The world no longer has


A place for madness,


The world no longer has


A place for foreheads.


I come to you from the birth of love


From the death of the impossible,


From a homeland my tears shed before departure.


I'm last of the lovers


I'm first of the lovers.


I love as the rural rain falls on the drowsy palms


I fear the tattlers


And am hurt by the promise, if wasted by years.


Take my hand


I beg your affection as I'm but a child love


Snatched by verse amidst chieftains and the pliant


I beg your affection.


This is my steed


I'll slaughter it for the kindly dervishes of my village


As a prayer


For all the mirrors that wounded us


From love and even yearning


From cradle to certitude


For all sins and steps


As a prayer


For all the gloom in your eyes


From which love and songs seek light


As a prayer


For all the whiteness in my eyes


Dislodged by sadness and desire.


Take my hand


The world no longer has


A place for madness


The world no longer has


A place for foreheads


The world no longer has


A place for madness.


An expanse of desperation


From which our eyes move back


And move forward


A caravan of ancient questions


If doubts deliver to illusions


Would be led astray by a thousand paths


No one is there


On the path.


Take my hand


I'm sick of verse and the tiresome


Of the lust of silence


Of my hidden pride


Of what I want


And of what I don't


Of my steps wobbling from suspicions


And of frivolity from which there's no escape.


Take my hand


An orphan pile of misery and scraps


Of a lost one in a crowd


Of an eye that pleads its dreams


To sleep.


Wounded I come to you, my lady,


Nothing is there between me


And the end save pain


Save yearning


Save defeat.


Take my hand


Doesn't my eye drop blood


When yearning for you?


Isn't there a fracture on my forehead


Or smoke of fire on my eye balls?


Would extinction shelter me


From your gypsy-like love?


Would water today protect me?


I come to you


Nobody in front


Except me


Nobody behind.


I'm estrangement


To the East an earth took me


To love


To the West skies took me.


Take my hand


I shall emigrate from my despair


And ride the seesaw of dreamers


Like others.


Tomorrow we'll dream


Of glory and jasmine


And we'll make our desert anew


And draw our dreams like a kiss


On the lips of stars


And recite our sweetest poems


Burning for a home or a beloved.


We'll make our desert anew


We'll fly a thousand butterflies of love


And a thousand chants.


Won't you shelter me


From the shiver of dreams


From a chilling age like ice


From death and senility that run from tears


To the vein


From a baby-girl who sleeps


On her dreams in my blood


From a sea-gull the harbors led astray


To a death preferred in my eye-balls.


Take my hand


To you I'll declare a fatwa on love:


Love is either loss


Or yearning and sweat


Pouring from the forehead.


I beg your affection


Seize my hand


I'm about


To fly into sadness and mirage


They are but two hands


It is but a hug


It is but a steed


Trapped in love


And pride


And antiquity


And an era of despair and vigor.


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