The first encounter with the literal translation of a poem is often baffling and off-putting, and this poem by Fatena Al-Gharra was no exception. Until we started to work on each tiny poem, the whole thing made no sense at all. But as we finished each section, the piece fell into place and we felt very pleased with our results.

The title can be translated as ‘Movements' /shiftings/changes of location; in fact this word is the one used for moving house to a new place.

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Comments (3)

Fatena Alghorra

Dear Faris and Sophie, you have no idea what your words meant to me. I thank both of you from the bottom of my heart .

Faris Mughal

Can you unveil my palm
without a kiss
or a bomb?
iam also a poet but iam speechless after reading these three lines.


Beautiful. I love the complex sense of fragmentation and repetition, working together like musical variations (or, like the wave, “improvisations”)—but also bearing out the poem’s observations about the way in which desire can fragment us as individuals and cohere us in relation. It’s striking how this poem feels distinct from contemporary Anglo poetry in its form, its imagistic vocabulary and sensibility, and yet the translation conjures something quite conversational while at the same time rich in a distinct lyrical tradition.

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