Sunday, April 13, 2014

April is National Poetry Month, Day 13

I have a treat for us today! My friend Dr. Mohammed Abd-Elhay, whom I met in Cairo in January and was kind enough to escort me and a friend to the Cairo International Book Fair (and patiently answer all of my questions and sign one of his books for me!), has graciously agreed to let me post one of his published poems. The English translation is followed by the original Arabic. Any mistakes made in formatting this poem for this page are, of course, entirely my own. Enjoy!



Half-a-Knight on the Far Shore
by Dr. Mohammed Abd-Elhay

You plant between us the whole desert and the sea
And wait for a knight to rescue you from your charmed tower. 
However, I was coming ... believe me!
I just couldn't find a good white horse.

The shore is an old barrier.
If, someday, the tide passed;
The sands never pass.
If, someday, the tides called;
The sands never answer.
If, someday, the tides gone mad,
They destroy it all, then leave nothing
Except for the sands on the shore ... wet with blame.

The shore is a dangerous barrier
That was set by the master of departure.
He sat it up in between critical ends, then lost his way.
And here I am; I who stand on the far shore,
Pulling my clothes up, not to cling with the departing tides,
Standing on the sea debris. 
At times, my pain flares …

So I go around gathering the remains of whale bones
That have drifted in the swells to get drawn onto the shore.
As I watch one of those brave men
Whose sword has been eaten by the salty waters
Floating, cheek to cheek, with the swells at your gate.
Oh, you who have shot your door at all faces,
How many, the seas in my deserts,
And how dangerous is your love!
However, I'm not a coward ... believe me
I just have a good insight!

Now, there is nothing left in me willing to cross to you except my sight,
And there is nothing in my saddle bags except these few whale bones ... a souvenir
A proof that we can hurt the seas as much as they can hurt us!
Even my white horse ... is no more magical
As he ate so much desert thorns and drank so much sea salt.
So, don't slay me with your eyes ... and don't blame my inability;
It is hard enough that I have already gone that far,
Bearing all that pain, by you!

If only, one day, you make that little mistake
And open your window, just a little bit. 
Then you may recognize your carved shadow
On the far shore, a knight whose horse has fled,
Trapped in a dangerous barrier
Between deserts of obscurity and your sea,
While your eyes are his only hope!
Maybe, then, the yearning will sting your heart
To make the ornamented tail of your dress carve a way
Through the mountain waves!
Or maybe you can just fling me your braided hair,
Or maybe ... when the sleep angel takes you away,
The nostalgia in your dream would plant into your shoulders
A wing! 

But the charms of your towers,
The genies in your mirrors,
And the eyes you have for your beauty
Fear that the salty sea breeze may puff your sleek hair.
And so, the window stays blindfolded,
And so, absent minded, your eyes gazing at the mirrors,
Keep planting between us the whole desert and the sea
And dream of the knight that will rescue you from your charmed tower …
And me!

I'm just half a knight, on the far shore, waiting
For my fled horse to come back,
And my only wish is to go back,
All I have ever walked.

________________________________________________________

زارعة مابينا البحر و الصحرا

و مستنية فارس يخطفك من قصرك المرصود

و أنا كنت جايلك .. صدقيني

بس مالقيتش الحصان الابيض

*

الشط برزخ قديم

لو يوم يعدي الموج

الرمل ما يعديش

وإن يوم ينادي الموج

الرمل ما يلبيش

و إن يوم يفور الموج ، يقلع و ما يخليش

إلا الرمال عـ الشط مبلولة بعَتـَب

الشط برزخ خطر

حطه اللي بََدَع السفر

حطه ما بين البين .. و تاه

وأنا اللي واقف عـ الشطوط البعيدة

بألم توبي لا ينشبك في الموج

و تحت نعلي بواقي طرح البحر

أوقات يعن الوجع

و أدور ألملم بواقي عضم الحيتان

اللي حدفها الموج و غرقت عـ الشطوط

و أنا باشاهد جدع

- من الجدعان -

الرمل كـَل سيفه ، و سكته بتنتهي

خده فـ خد الموج على أعتابك

ياه ياللي قافلة في الوشوش بابك

ياما في الصحاري بحور

وياما حبك خطر

و أنا مش جبان .. صدقيني

أنا بس عندي نظر

*

ما عادبي غير النظر يقدر يعديلك

وما في الجراب غير بعض عضم الحيتان تذكار

أنـَّا بنقدر ناخد مـ البحور .. زي ما بتاخد

حتى الحصان الابيض

السحر منه بطل

من أكل شوك الصحاري و شرب ملح البحر

فماتدبحيش بالعينين

و ما تعتبيش عجزي

كفاية أني وصلت نص الطريق

و فـ قلبي منك وجع

*

لو كنتي يوم تغلطي و تواربي شباكك

كنتي لمحتي ضلك المرسوم على الشط البعيد

فارس حصانه شت

مأسور فـ برزخ خطر

ما بين صحاري التوه و بحرك

و فرجه من نظرتك

يمكن ساعتها يحز فيكي الشوق

و يشق ديل فستانك المنقوش طريق

مابين جبال الموج

يمكن ساعتها تحدفي شعرك جديلة

يمكن إذا خطفك ملاك النوم

يزرع حنين الحلم فـ كتافك

جناح

*

لكن رصود قصرك

و الجن في المرايات

و عيون تمام حسنك

بيخافوا يود البحر ينفش شعرك المحلول

فتتنها الشبابيك مغمية

و تتنها عينيكي بين سرحة المرايات

تزرع ما بينا البحر و الصحرا

و تحلم بفارس يخطفك من قصرك المرصود

وأنا .. نص فارس عـ الشط البعيد منتظر

ألقى الحصان الابيض

وكل أملي أني أرجع

اللي أنا مشيته

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