Glittering With Sweetness

Here is another post, to rival my last one in pointlessness and ridiculousness.  This time it is a translation of a modern poem.  For maximum pretentiousness, I’m including the original in transliteration.  As an additional bonus, there is also a paragraph from the back of the book, which provides some insight into the particular qualities of this poet’s oeuvre, not to mention its glittering sweetness.

“Another Flowerpot”

This is what you want, thus

The rifle of the hunt,

and the horse’s saddle

and the bag of tobacco suspended from the ceiling.

This, therefore,

is what has called you to return, friend.

Take also,

the colorful bundle of papers.

(You still attend to the lighting of firewood.)

And the shaving implements – those – that are on the shelf.

And the jacket of hide..

And also bottles of wine buried in straw.

Do not grieve, friend,

for your flowers grow, now,

in another flowerpot.


aSiiSun aaxaru

 haaðaa maa turiidu-hu, iðan

bunduqiyyata al-Saydi,

wa-sarja al-HiSaani

wa-Surrata al-tibği al-mu<allaqata fii al-saqfi.

haaðaa, iðan,

maa da<aa-ka ilaa al-<awdati ayyuhaa al-Sadiiqu.

xuð ayDan,

Huzmata al-awraaqi al-mulawwanata

fa-maa tazaalu tuSliHu li-ish<aali al-HaTabi.

wa-adawaati al-Hilaaqati – tilka – allatii <alaa al-raffi.

wa-sutrata al-jildi..

wa-ayDan zujaajaati al-nabiiði al-maTmuurata fii al-qašši.

laa ta’sa ayyuhaa al-Sadiiqu

fa-azhaaru-ka tanbutu, al-aana,

fii aSiiSin aaxara.


The first of what he discloses to you (in this collection by Amjad Nasir) are his conditions of mind, which flourish, isolated from language’s protection:  very naked poems, with far-reaching sensitivity.  Some are natural compositions, while others enlist technical skills.  Each poem is a short idea, an idea like a brief gleam of light, intelligent and compassionate.  Amjad paves the way for them with spare introductions, with just a minimal flavor, through which he leads you into the snare of a conclusion glittering with sweetness.


  1. acilius

     /  October 9, 2007

    What interests me about that poem are all the images that for us as westerners suggest machismo (hunting, building fire, taming horses, using weapons, etc) interspersed with what seem to us like items from a more feminine sphere(flowers, colored paper.) Do you think this contrast would strike an Arab reading the original?

  2. cymast

     /  March 25, 2009

    Probably not. Just a guess.

    I would almost say “yes” if I left the last three lines at first glance. But the “flowerpot” echoed from the title makes me wonder if the translation of flowers in this poem isn’t meant to be feminine in Arab culture. Would it be acceptable for a male Arab to wrap his poem in femininity? “Glittering with sweetness” notwithstanding.

  3. lefalcon

     /  March 25, 2009

    I think machismo is inflected differently in different cultures. I doubt whether this poem is some sort of sophisticated comment on gender identity or something. The wine is probably intended to have some sort of resonance.

  4. cymast

     /  March 25, 2009

    Wine seems like it would be one of those Jungian things.

  5. acilius

     /  March 26, 2009

    “I think machismo is inflected differently in different cultures”- I’m sure you’re right!

    “I doubt whether this poem is some sort of sophisticated comment on gender identity or something.”- Even so, I wonder if it might reflect on conceptions of gender in some way.

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