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Aseel Jul 2020
كبيرة كالسماء
أسعُ كلّ شيء
و لا يسعني أحد
وحيدة
كابتسامة صادقة في العزاء
تلتهمها ألف دمعة كاذبة
لا ابتسامات هنا
يصرخون
تبًّا لكِ
فلتحيا الكذبات
و ليمُت صدق الاختلاف

ليمُت.
Aseel Jul 2020
كانت السعادة ترتدي أجمل ما لديها و تتمختر أمامي بابتسامة حمقاء لا تعني إلا أنني لن أستطيع الحصول عليها مهما حاولت.
Aseel Jun 2020
أخبرتني أُمّي البارحة أنّني جميلة، و نادرة، لكنّ عقلي سيُسبب لي الجنون و المشاكل.
أخبرتني أنّ لا رجلَ سيرغبُ بامرأة تسبحُ في عقلها، و تقوم بتدخين القلوب عوضًا عن الرقص، أنني أشعرُ بنفسي و تفاصيلها أكثر من اللازم.
حدّثتني كيف ستتوقف الأشواك التي في داخلي عن إيذائي عندما أتوقف عن الحركة، عندما أتوقف عن المقاومة، مقاومة سيلِ الصحّ الجارف، لازم تستسلم للسيل لأنّه صح، و إن كان يجري بك للأسفل.
كانت تطلب منّي بينما تنظرُ إليّ، و تحاول أن تُخبّئ جثّتها القديمة خلف عينيها، جثّتها التي تُشبهني كثيرًا، و تفوح رائحة غضبها في ليالٍ نادرة، أن أتجاهل بعض الدعسات التي يقصدون ترك آثارها فوقي لأعيش.
هي لا تعلمُ أنّني إن فقدتُ الشعور بحركاتِ روحي و الخدوش فيها سأفقدُ نفسي بين مئة امرأة عمياء تجلسن على رصيف مبلول لأنّ قَطع الشارع خطيرٌ جدًّا.
سأفقد الشارع، و طريقًا لم أجده بعد، و رفاقي فيه، و نهاية هذا الطريق.
أمّا عقلي، ربّما هي لم تنتبه أنّني قد فقدته بالفعل.
Aseel Jun 2020
أين أذهب بغضبي عندما يرميه الجميع بوجهي ما أن أُخرجه؟
Michael R Burch May 2020
This Distant Light
by Walid Khazindar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bitterly cold,
winter clings to the naked trees.

If only you would free
the bright sparrows
from your fingertips
and release a smile―that shy, tentative smile―
from the imprisoned anguish I see.

Sing! Can we not sing
as if we were warm, hand-in-hand,
sheltered by shade from a sweltering sun?

Can you not always remain this way,
stoking the fire: more beautiful than expected, in reverie?

Darkness increases and we must remain vigilant
since this distant light is our sole consolation ...
this imperiled flame, which from the beginning
has constantly flickered,
in danger of going out.

Come to me, closer and closer.
I don't want to be able to tell my hand from yours.
And let's stay awake, lest the snow smother us.

Walid Khazindar was born in Gaza City. He is considered to be one of the very best Palestinian poets; his poetry has been said to be "characterized by metaphoric originality and a novel thematic approach unprecedented in Arabic poetry." He was awarded the first Palestine Prize for Poetry in 1997. Keywords/Tags: Arabic, translation, Arab, Palestine, Palestinian, Gaza, distant, light, flame, fire, autumn, winter, trees, birds, sparrows, fingertips, smile, sing, shade, sun, fire, darkness, hand, hands, snow
Michael R Burch May 2020
Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan the "Poet of Palestine"
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we're together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me again,
thanks to life's cruelty.

The seas will separate us...
Oh! Oh! If only I could see you!
But I'll never know
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal this happiness from us,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at sunrise you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent! Your scent contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth absorbs the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost! Lost, and nothing remains.

Keywords/Tags: Fadwa Tuqan, Palestine, Palestinian, Arabic, translation, nothing, remains, parting, separation, loss


Fadwa Tuqan has been called the Grand Dame of Palestinian letters and The Poet of Palestine. These are my translations of Fadwa Tuqan poems originally written in Arabic.



Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.

Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.

Published by Palestine Today, Free Journal and Lokesh Tripathi



Existence
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice—
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
and in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate and distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of our spirits in the flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.

Published by This Week in Palestine, Arabic Literature (ArabLit.org) and Art-in-Society (Germany)



Labor Pains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the wind wafts pollen through ruined fields and homes.
The earth shivers with love, with the agony of giving birth,
while the Invader spreads stories of submission and surrender.

O, Arab Aurora!

Tell the Usurper: childbirth’s a force beyond his ken
because a mother’s wracked body reveals a rent that inaugurates life,
a crack through which light dawns in an instant
as the blood’s rose blooms in the wound.



Hamza
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hamza was one of my hometown’s ordinary men
who did manual labor for bread.

When I saw him recently,
the land still wore its mourning dress in the solemn windless silence
and I felt defeated.

But Hamza-the-unextraordinary said:
“Sister, our land’s throbbing heart never ceases to pound,
and it perseveres, enduring the unendurable, keeping the secrets of mounds and wombs.
This land sprouting cactus spikes and palms also births freedom-fighters.
Thus our land, my sister, is our mother!”

Days passed and Hamza was nowhere to be seen,
but I felt the land’s belly heaving in pain.
At sixty-five Hamza’s a heavy burden on her back.

“Burn down his house!”
some commandant screamed,
“and slap his son in a prison cell!”

As our town’s military ruler later explained
this was necessary for law and order,
that is, an act of love, for peace!

Armed soldiers surrounded Hamza’s house;
the coiled serpent completed its circle.

The bang at his door came with an ultimatum:
“Evacuate, **** it!'
So generous with their time, they said:
“You can have an hour, yes!”

Hamza threw open a window.
Face-to-face with the blazing sun, he yelled defiantly:
“Here in this house I and my children will live and die, for Palestine!”
Hamza's voice echoed over the hemorrhaging silence.

An hour later, with impeccable timing, Hanza’s house came crashing down
as its rooms were blown sky-high and its bricks and mortar burst,
till everything settled, burying a lifetime’s memories of labor, tears, and happier times.

Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down one of our town’s streets ...
Hamza-the-unextraordinary man who remained as he always was:
unshakable in his determination.

My translation follows one by Azfar Hussain and borrows a word here, a phrase there.



Biography of Fadwa Tuqan (aka Touqan or Toukan)

Fadwa Tuqan (1917-2003), called the "Grande Dame of Palestinian letters," is also known as "The Poet of Palestine." She is generally considered to be one of the very best contemporary Arab poets. Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, named her “the mother of Palestinian poetry.”
Michael R Burch May 2020
Existence
by Fadwa Tuqan the "Poet of Palestine"
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice —
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
And in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate, yet distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of your spirit in flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.

Keywords/Tags: Fadwa Tuqan, Palestine, Palestinian, Arabic, translation, existence, love, darkness, star, stars, orbit, radiance



Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.

Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.

Published by Palestine Today, Free Journal and Lokesh Tripathi



Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we’re together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me
thanks to life’s cruelty.

The seas will separate us ...
Oh!—Oh!—If I could only see you!
But I'll never know
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal this happiness,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at dawn you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent—your scent!—contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth gulps up the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost—lost!—and nothing remains.

Published by This Week in Palestine and Hypercritic (read in Arabic by Souad Maddahi with my translation as a reference)



Labor Pains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the wind wafts pollen through ruined fields and homes.
The earth shivers with love, with the agony of giving birth,
while the Invader spreads stories of submission and surrender.

O, Arab Aurora!

Tell the Usurper: childbirth’s a force beyond his ken
because a mother’s wracked body reveals a rent that inaugurates life,
a crack through which light dawns in an instant
as the blood’s rose blooms in the wound.



Hamza
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hamza was one of my hometown’s ordinary men
who did manual labor for bread.

When I saw him recently,
the land still wore its mourning dress in the solemn windless silence
and I felt defeated.

But Hamza-the-unextraordinary said:
“Sister, our land’s throbbing heart never ceases to pound,
and it perseveres, enduring the unendurable, keeping the secrets of mounds and wombs.
This land sprouting cactus spikes and palms also births freedom-fighters.
Thus our land, my sister, is our mother!”

Days passed and Hamza was nowhere to be seen,
but I felt the land’s belly heaving in pain.
At sixty-five Hamza’s a heavy burden on her back.

“Burn down his house!”
some commandant screamed,
“and slap his son in a prison cell!”

As our town’s military ruler later explained
this was necessary for law and order,
that is, an act of love, for peace!

Armed soldiers surrounded Hamza’s house;
the coiled serpent completed its circle.

The bang at his door came with an ultimatum:
“Evacuate, **** it!'
So generous with their time, they said:
“You can have an hour, yes!”

Hamza threw open a window.
Face-to-face with the blazing sun, he yelled defiantly:
“Here in this house I and my children will live and die, for Palestine!”
Hamza's voice echoed over the hemorrhaging silence.

An hour later, with impeccable timing, Hanza’s house came crashing down
as its rooms were blown sky-high and its bricks and mortar burst,
till everything settled, burying a lifetime’s memories of labor, tears, and happier times.

Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down one of our town’s streets ...
Hamza-the-unextraordinary man who remained as he always was:
unshakable in his determination.

My translation follows one by Azfar Hussain and borrows a word here, a phrase there.



Biography of Fadwa Tuqan (aka Touqan or Toukan)

Fadwa Tuqan (1917-2003), called the "Grande Dame of Palestinian letters," is also known as "The Poet of Palestine." She is generally considered to be one of the very best contemporary Arab poets. Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, named her “the mother of Palestinian poetry.”

Fadwa Tuqan was born into an affluent, literary family in Nablus in 1917. Her brother Ibrahim Tuqan was the most famous Palestinian poet of his day. She studied English literature at Oxford University and won several international literary prizes.

Tuqan began writing in traditional forms, but later became a pioneer of Arabic free verse. Her work often deals with feminine explorations of love and social protest.

After the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948 she began to write about Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. Then, after the Six Day War of 1967, she also began writing patriotic poems.

Her autobiography "Difficult Journey―Mountainous Journey" was translated into English in 1990. Tuqan received the International Poetry Award, the Jerusalem Award for Culture and Arts and the United Arab Emirates Award, the latter two both in 1990. She also received the Honorary Palestine prize for poetry in 1996. She was the subject of a documentary film directed by novelist Liana Bader in 1999.

Tuqan died on December 12, 2003 during the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, while her hometown of Nablus was under siege. Her poem "Wahsha: Moustalhama min Qanoon al Jathibiya" ("Longing: Inspired by the Law of Gravity") was one of the last poems she penned, while largely bedridden.

Tuqan is widely considered to be a symbol of the Palestinian cause and is "one of the most distinguished figures of modern Arabic literature."

In his obituary for "The Guardian," Lawrence Joffe wrote: "The Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan, who has died aged 86, forcefully expressed a nation's sense of loss and defiance. Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general, likened reading one of Tuqan's poems to facing 20 enemy commandos." In her poem "Martyrs Of The Intifada," Tuqan wrote of young stone-throwers:

They died standing, blazing on the road
Shining like stars, their lips pressed to the lips of life
They stood up in the face of death
Then disappeared like the sun.

Yet the true power of her words derived not from warlike imagery, but from their affirmation of Palestinian identity and the dream of return.

"Her poetry reflected the pain, loss, and anger of the Nakba, the experience of fleeing war and living as a refugee, and the courageous aspirations of the Palestinians to nationhood and return to their homeland. She also wrote about resistance to Israel’s injustices and life under Israeli military occupation, especially after Nablus fell to Israeli forces in 1967, heralding Israel’s long-term occupation of the West Bank, which remains to this day." - Zeina Azzam
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Fadwa Tuqan has been called the Grand Dame of Palestinian letters and The Poet of Palestine. These are my translations of Fadwa Tuqan poems originally written in Arabic.



Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.

Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.

Published by Palestine Today, Free Journal and Lokesh Tripathi



Existence
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice—
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
and in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate and distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of our spirits in the flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.

Published by This Week in Palestine, Arabic Literature (ArabLit.org) and Art-in-Society (Germany)



Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we’re together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me
thanks to life’s cruelty.

The seas will separate us ...
Oh!—Oh!—If I could only see you!
But I'll never know
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal this happiness,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at dawn you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent—your scent!—contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth gulps up the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost—lost!—and nothing remains.

Published by This Week in Palestine and Hypercritic (read in Arabic by Souad Maddahi with my translation as a reference)



Labor Pains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the wind wafts pollen through ruined fields and homes.
The earth shivers with love, with the agony of giving birth,
while the Invader spreads stories of submission and surrender.

O, Arab Aurora!

Tell the Usurper: childbirth’s a force beyond his ken
because a mother’s wracked body reveals a rent that inaugurates life,
a crack through which light dawns in an instant
as the blood’s rose blooms in the wound.



Hamza
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hamza was one of my hometown’s ordinary men
who did manual labor for bread.

When I saw him recently,
the land still wore its mourning dress in the solemn windless silence
and I felt defeated.

But Hamza-the-unextraordinary said:
“Sister, our land’s throbbing heart never ceases to pound,
and it perseveres, enduring the unendurable, keeping the secrets of mounds and wombs.
This land sprouting cactus spikes and palms also births freedom-fighters.
Thus our land, my sister, is our mother!”

Days passed and Hamza was nowhere to be seen,
but I felt the land’s belly heaving in pain.
At sixty-five Hamza’s a heavy burden on her back.

“Burn down his house!”
some commandant screamed,
“and slap his son in a prison cell!”

As our town’s military ruler later explained
this was necessary for law and order,
that is, an act of love, for peace!

Armed soldiers surrounded Hamza’s house;
the coiled serpent completed its circle.

The bang at his door came with an ultimatum:
“Evacuate, **** it!'
So generous with their time, they said:
“You can have an hour, yes!”

Hamza threw open a window.
Face-to-face with the blazing sun, he yelled defiantly:
“Here in this house I and my children will live and die, for Palestine!”
Hamza's voice echoed over the hemorrhaging silence.

An hour later, with impeccable timing, Hanza’s house came crashing down
as its rooms were blown sky-high and its bricks and mortar burst,
till everything settled, burying a lifetime’s memories of labor, tears, and happier times.

Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down one of our town’s streets ...
Hamza-the-unextraordinary man who remained as he always was:
unshakable in his determination.

My translation follows one by Azfar Hussain and borrows a word here, a phrase there.



Biography of Fadwa Tuqan (aka Touqan or Toukan)

Fadwa Tuqan (1917-2003), called the "Grande Dame of Palestinian letters," is also known as "The Poet of Palestine." She is generally considered to be one of the very best contemporary Arab poets. Palestine’s national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, named her “the mother of Palestinian poetry.”

Fadwa Tuqan was born into an affluent, literary family in Nablus in 1917. Her brother Ibrahim Tuqan was the most famous Palestinian poet of his day. She studied English literature at Oxford University and won several international literary prizes.

Tuqan began writing in traditional forms, but later became a pioneer of Arabic free verse. Her work often deals with feminine explorations of love and social protest.

After the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948 she began to write about Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. Then, after the Six Day War of 1967, she also began writing patriotic poems.

Her autobiography "Difficult Journey―Mountainous Journey" was translated into English in 1990. Tuqan received the International Poetry Award, the Jerusalem Award for Culture and Arts and the United Arab Emirates Award, the latter two both in 1990. She also received the Honorary Palestine prize for poetry in 1996. She was the subject of a documentary film directed by novelist Liana Bader in 1999.

Tuqan died on December 12, 2003 during the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, while her hometown of Nablus was under siege. Her poem "Wahsha: Moustalhama min Qanoon al Jathibiya" ("Longing: Inspired by the Law of Gravity") was one of the last poems she penned, while largely bedridden.

Tuqan is widely considered to be a symbol of the Palestinian cause and is "one of the most distinguished figures of modern Arabic literature."

In his obituary for "The Guardian," Lawrence Joffe wrote: "The Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan, who has died aged 86, forcefully expressed a nation's sense of loss and defiance. Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general, likened reading one of Tuqan's poems to facing 20 enemy commandos." In her poem "Martyrs Of The Intifada," Tuqan wrote of young stone-throwers:

They died standing, blazing on the road
Shining like stars, their lips pressed to the lips of life
They stood up in the face of death
Then disappeared like the sun.

Yet the true power of her words derived not from warlike imagery, but from their affirmation of Palestinian identity and the dream of return.

"Her poetry reflected the pain, loss, and anger of the Nakba, the experience of fleeing war and living as a refugee, and the courageous aspirations of the Palestinians to nationhood and return to their homeland. She also wrote about resistance to Israel’s injustices and life under Israeli military occupation, especially after Nablus fell to Israeli forces in 1967, heralding Israel’s long-term occupation of the West Bank, which remains to this day." - Zeina Azzam
يمكننا أن نرى غدا
من خلال أحلامنا الصالحة
من خلال إخفاقاتي أتعلم التألق
من خلال الإيمان لقد تغلبت على الألم

#راعي التقدم
Affirm
we can see tomorrow
through our valid dreams
through my failures i am learning to shine
through faith i have overcome pain
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