Poems

Please Don't Give Birth!

It was not foreseen
The day of my birth / the day I was born
And the breast that fed me
A barrel of forgetting
Spilled by the invaders
I throw myself on my shadow
To protect it from the (advancing) train
I turn in front of/before the spears
Like my ancestors’ … [missing word]
I wander on mountain tops/peaks – I wander on the summits
Barefoot on a coast
The mountains are my sea(s)
And the caves my seashells and my days
Now every tree hides/conceals
Under its … [missing word] a wall
As soon as I touch a tree
I am suddenly (trespassing)
On the property of others
And if I sit on a rock
Wings grow and it flies (away)
Where do I go
Where do I stagger/stumble
I who hangs like a plait/braid
That breaks the back of my beloved
Whereto
And behind me is god/allah on/in the minarets
Like a whip (coming down) on horseback
It was not foreseen
The day I was born
And the river that carried me
They buried it (in) an earth that yawns
As if eternal
I run (through) it without wings
Like water
If I evaporate I fly
If I fall (down) from the summits / if I drop from high
And break
I am purified / I become pure
Every time/ whenever I caress land
Its belly swells
Please do not give birth this time
To an Omani
Who asks me
How many years this century has lasted
And invites me to this festivals/festivities [plural of Eid]
To drink obedience in a cup
And above me
A balloon
An exclamation mark
Filling the sky.

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Comments (4)

omani

ABDULLAH ALRIYAMI is a wonderful poet and writer ! thank you !

bradford

This is an excellent translation. I can say from my familiarity with the Omani dialect that your translation of “كتروس اجدادي ” is accurate as “like the shields of my ancestors”. “تروس ” is a dialect word for a small, conical metal shield, so I’m impressed you put that together from context!
Secondly, I think the word “حائ ” is another dialect word, usually translated (anthropologically) as “family house cluster” referring to a group of houses inhabited by close kin. So “تحت لحائها حائطا “is something like, “under [the hiding tree’s] hayy’ is a wall”. 

I think the poet is thinking about individual families as a tree, likely because of people’s dependence on date trees for food and livelihood, and now he sees them as all locked up in their fortress-like hayy’-s and if anyone comes close to them, that person is “trespassing” on the hayy’.
I want to express my thanks for translating this poem and encourage you to include more Omani poets!

cathryn

I’m a high school student who is not that interested in writing, but I needed 3 translated poems for my course work. When I read this poem, everything about the words on the page and the images they created was around me. This poet is incredibly amazing and can interest the most non-focused student. I’m glad I found this amazing poem and got to use it in my paper.

snono

i really wanted to describe how impressed i was by this piece, but i became aware that what i was fascinated with here isn’t the poem, but the translation of it, for i’ve read loads of Arabic poetry
and never have had this sweet feeling of being lost in the wood of letters and images.

blessed be your pen, Sarah

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