The Lost Button
We made two attempts at this poem: one in a workshop where we got half-way through and then had to call it a day, and then later on in our small group of translators from Arabic comprising Anna Murison, Sara Vaghefian, Samra Said and Worod Musawi. As ever, Worod was particularly helpful.
This is a highly eroticised poem, as are a number of Faten's other poems - a daring stance for a woman poet from Gaza writing in Arabic. It was Worod who enlightened us as to what 'the lost button' actually might be. Once we understood that, the rest of the poem gradually fell into place.
Non-native speakers of Arabic find it almost impossible to discern the pronouns used in poetry - which, of course, makes translating Arabic poetry all but impossible.