Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Shawwal 20, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

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)


Guevara


Guevara


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.


But


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,


Looking


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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