Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
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OMAN
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

My Homeland

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


Two Mornings to My Homeland


My Homeland


Good morning!


O that moment


When Loqman bin Aadiya awaited


For the decision of Heaven


About “Labad”!*


O fist from the trace of an old prophet


Who crossed the oceans to sing


For the herdsmen who


Moved from “Marib”** in the evening.


And shortly before dawn


He’d head up the warriors leaving


For the East


And saying the prayers of absence***


For the last prophet


That would come after him.


2-


Good morning!


Whenever a tear rolled down


The cheek of a villager


Studying history


At the School of “Abu Zaid Al Riyami”****


And recollecting


The will of his mother ascending the mountain:


“O my son ride with us”.


Good morning!


Whenever the Al Alaan tree rustled


In a breeze


Spurred by the summits of “Al Kor”,*****


Not polluted by


The breath of the lazy.


Good morning!


Whenever an old farmer


Bowed on your sacred plateau


Kissed in you the cypress roots


And bet on their survival.


To Malik bin Fahm******


What harm would you have brought


If you’d budged your steed a little


From this land,


Which the skies would


Never


Marry?


No, Malik,


I swear by your steed’s shaggy mane


Not so easily will exile be put out


Give it to me


Or else neither earth nor heaven


Will be wide enough for me!


*According to legends, Loqman had seven eagles. He took each young eagle to a mountain where it lived for about five hundred years. All of the eagles died, except the last one, Labad, which lived the longest (the translator).


**A Dam in Yemen. It is believed that after its collapse, Arabs began to spread to the various parts of the Arabian Peninsula (the translator).


***Prayers of absence in Islam refer to those Muslims say if someone dies in a place far from home. There are schools within the Islamic tradition that question the validity of such prayers, though (the translator).


****Name of a school on Jabal Al Akhdhar in the interior of Oman (the translator).


*****Name of a mountain in Bahla, in the interior of Oman (the translator).


******Malik bin Fahm is thought to have led the Azd Arab to Oman after the collapse of the Marab Dam in Yemen. He fought the Persians, expelling them from Oman in a famous battle in Salut (hence known as the Salut Battle) (the translator).


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