Celebrating Nazik al-Malaika

Google has dedicated today’s doodle to Iraqi poet Nazik al-Malaika (1922-2007), an early and influential free-verse poet.

A number of Al-Malaika’s poems have been translated into English, most notably by Salih Altoma.

Altoma writes:

It should be noted that the translated poems and excerpts mostly reflect aspects of the melancholy, pessimism, and perplexity prevalent in al-Mala’ika’s poetry. They, of course, do not represent her political, more optimistic poems, nor do they reflect her mystical/Sufist-oriented poems as it is especially evident in her recent two collections, For Prayers and Revolution (1978) and And the Sea Changes Its Colors (1977).

I could find only snippets of her poetry in English, such as:

Why do we fear words?
Some words are secret bells, the echoes
of their tone announce the start of a magic
And abundant time
Steeped in feeling and life,
So why should we fear words?
(from ‘Love Song for Words’)

There’s much online in Arabic, of course, notably this lovely video recitation of أنا from Reemirror, hat-tip to Ghazala Irshad.

Thanks to @ShjIntlBookFair for alerting me to the doodle.