Translation Thursday - Arabic Poetry

Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Moubarak Ouassat, Mahmoud Darwish

Arabic Poetry in Translation


If you are a new reader on my blog, you may not know that I love Arabic, and am currently learning the language. The above picture was taken in Morocco, when I travelled there two weeks ago with two friends. It made sense for me to continue on the Arabic theme and share some Arabic poetry today.

Moubarak Ouassat

The first poem I am linking to is Perplexité. The poem is available in Arabic, with a translation in French (translated by the poet), but an English one does not seem to be available. Here is a quote from the poem:

Et de quoi peut rêver 
Un oiseau
Que peut l’arbre
Après que la pluie
Ait été reportée

Now, here is my (rough!) translation for you non-French speakers:

And of what can dream
A bird
What can do the tree
After the rain
Has been delayed

It's a pretty rough translation - the first line is not great, grammatically, but I wanted to keep the bird on his own line. For the tree line, I used the verb 'do', but in the French version it is not used - the line gives more a sense of powerlessness - literally it would be 'what can the tree'. 'Do' felt like the best choice.

Mahmoud Darwish

Second, I am linking Darwish's A State of Siege (or rather, an extract). Translated by Sabry Hafez and Sarah Maguire. 

Peace for the traveller on the other side
is to hear a traveller talking to himself.

Peace is the sound of a dove in flight
heard by two strangers standing together.

al-Saddiq al-Raddi

I've shared poems by this poet before - I also have a book of his poetry in Arabic and English that I've still not read fully - sadly it is on London, and I am not.
The poem I am sharing today is A Body. Translated by Atef Alshaer and Sarah Maguire.

You must breach the horizon, once,
in order to wake up.
You must open window after window.
You must support the walls.


Do you like poetry from other countries? Do you have a favourite poet who writes in a language you don't know (and would like to be able to read the poems in the original language?)


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