Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Shawwal 17, 1443 H
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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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