Two New Translations of Iraqi Poet Ahmad Matar

Last November, when Tasnim Qutait began blogging at Arab Arts, she lamented the dearth of Iraqi poet Ahmed Matar in English.

Ahmed-Matar-500She pointed to a few translations (most notably the popular “From Obama“), and Walaa Quisay’s promise to translate more (tsk, Walaa), adding that, “I cannot understand how there are no (as far as I can tell) translations of Ahmed Matar’s works.”

Now, Qutait has thrown her hat into the ring with two translations, of “يقظة” and “انحناء السنبلة”.

From The Stalk Bows:

I am made from dust and water
Take your precautions, passersby
Your footsteps fall on my body
And my silence is generosity
Because dust is the seed of eternity
And footsteps are ephemeral

But if you cage the air in my chest
Ask the earth about the beginning of the earthquake
Ask the conscience of winter about my madness
I am the burdened cloud,
Which when it weeps
Sends lightning with its tears

Yes, I bow, so bear witness to my valiant humiliation
For the sun does not bow except to reach the heart of the sky
Nor does the wheat stalk bow
If it is not burdened
But in the hour of its bowing
It hides the seeds of its survival
Concealing in the earth’s womb a coming revolution. Keep reading on Arab Arts.