Friday, June 02, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 12, 1444 H
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The Rocks of Swollen Betrayals

A Window into Contemporary Omani Literature

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

Memoirs of Khalid Al Jlandaani(1)



I greet you thousands of times

O commando

Whose military cap still hangs

From a huge oak branch

In the forests of Bolivia

To fall on the mad skull

Of an upcoming rebel!

Rahma bin Jabir Al Jalhami (2)

I know

Once a prophet wore his military uniform

He shouldn't take it off.


The moment you smashed your ship

On the rocks of swollen betrayals

There was

In the farthest place in the Gulf

A sailor collecting the wreckage of his ship

To tighten the circle anew.

Al Sheba (3)

All I recall is

Your shabby tatters

While you sneaked them away

Between barracks

Of phantom armies,


For a loaf of security

For a nation quivering since creation.

Abu Moslem Al Bahlaani(4)

The tribes of Yajooj and Majooj (5)

Have not yet penetrated the Barzakh (6)

I wonder:

Do you have estrangement enough

To fall together into a deep well

And then squat on the sword edge

Awaiting for calamity?!

The moment I crave for writing

Like I crave for death

Adulterous words and ideas escape from me!

Terrible it is to be poor

To own nothing but words.

Terrible it is to be

Between emptiness and nothingness.

Like ether,

What do I want and what not?

That's the raw crab

My heart chews.

O Sibylla (7)

With breasts boarded

With letters and words

I'm the child who lacks the alphabet of talk

Yet in his heart

There're twenty years of floods and doubts!

1 The protagonist of a novel called The Angels of Jabal Al Akhdhar by the Omani novelist Abdullah Mohammed Al Tai. The novel revolves around the Jabal Al Akdhar War (translator).

2 Al Jalhami (1757-1826) is a famous fighter from the Arabian Gulf. He fought British troops and was the head of Jalalhima from the Otub tribe (the translator).

3 Al Sheba is the nickname of Mohammed bin Abdullah al Salmi (1896-1985), a well-known Omani historian. He wrote important books on the political disturbances that Oman witnessed in the 20th century (translator)

4 Abu Moslem Naser bin Salim al Bahlaani al Rawahi (1860-1920) is a well-known Omani poet. He travelled to East Africa as a young man and settled there (translator).

5 Proper names that appear in the Quran refer to people known both for their great numbers and wickedness. They also appear in the Old Testament as Gog and Magog (the translator).

6 Barzakh is an Arabic word that means 'screen', 'divider', or 'bar.' As a concept alluded to both in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet, it refers to the stage that separates this world from the world of the after-life (the translator.)

7 A Greek name that means 'prophetess' and 'oracle' (the translator.)

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