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
O that moment
When Loqman bin Aadiya awaited
For the decision of Heaven
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.
Whenever a tear rolled down
The cheek of a villager
At the School of “Abu Zaid Al Riyami”****
The will of his mother ascending the mountain:
“O my son ride with us”.
Whenever the Al Alaan tree rustled
In a breeze
Spurred by the summits of “Al Kor”,*****
Not polluted by
The breath of the lazy.
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
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).