Sunday, February 05, 2023 | Rajab 13, 1444 H
clear sky
weather
OMAN
21°C / 21°C
EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Safe Journey, Old Boy!

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


(1)


Ibn Khaldun*


Ibn Khaldun lied


When he claimed that man


Is “civilised by nature.”


Never have I found a way


To tame this beast


That


Flows in my blood!


(2)


From the Gulf to the Ocean


My homeland... the rhymed old man


I greet you with reproof.


For you I’ll sacrifice an exile and land.


I greet you with reproof...


How can I see you like a palm


That in treason has touched no other?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like a heart


Not scared by the terror of religion or ritual?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like a face


Not soaked in mud?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like a child


Not aged by dreams of poverty and hunger?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like wine or a pure poem?


To hell with pretenders!


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like a fine steed


Sent just to conquer?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like Arab blood


Like the palm in roots and bounty?


I greet you with reproof...


How can I find you like a cloud


I will ride?


Did I dream or reveal?


Good evening my homeland


... is there such a cup


On which I splinter into letters


One after another?


(3)


Keeping What’s to Be Kept


You’ll succumb.


What you gathered is escape


You’ll be folded and those you saw will be wrecked.


Great difference is there between horrors you ride


And between what they cohabited and what they drank.


You came to them while the era was accused


Of what you go through, and in you it fights.


You loathed them, while there’s no destination


Nothing but chests in turmoil,


Nothing but retreating, if there’s ever an advance,


Nothing but illusions when they went down.


Safe journey, old boy!


Where to? To yourself where there’s no design,


No impostors or swindlers


No callous youth sees himself as stranger


Where freaks aren’t judges


Whose foes are Arabs and rebels


Where for a freeman exile is


Warmer than pure death.


*Abul Rahman bin Mohammed bin Khaldun (1332-1406) is a Tunisian born famous Arab historian and sociologist (the translator).


SHARE ARTICLE
arrow up
home icon