Friday Finds: Poetry ‘At That Outcast and Lonely Hour’

On Monday, Robin Moger posted four new translations:

The first two were of the great Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus (“Meeting with an Arab poet in exile“) and contemporary Egyptian poet Ahmed Yamani (“Tomorrow the village market day.”) Yamani’s poem was from from his collection collection أماكن خاطئة  (Wrong Places). 

Edgar Degas, Factory Smoke, ca. 1877–79
Edgar Degas, Factory Smoke, ca. 1877–79

Boulus’s poem begins:

At that outcast and lonely hour,

that hour of night when choices narrow

until each absence takes on meaning as a cloud of smoke,

between the voices of the drunken patrons in that small restaurant

and the wash of the still sea that beats, below, against its rocky shore,

The second two poems were both by Mohab Nasr, author of the much-lauded collection يا رب أعطنا كتابا لنقرأ (Please God, Give Us Books to Read). They are as yet unpublished.

The sea we know” begins:

The sea we know

was a spontaneous motion

a fear running over

holding taut the surface

of our bodies, wave after wave

and time was, too

More by Mohab Nasr:

“Please God, Give Us Books to Read,” trans. Youssef Rakha

“Disgrace,” trans. Moger

“Apple garden,” trans. Moger

“A point of view,” trans. Moger

“The outstretched hand,” trans. Moger

“A blow off the table,” trans. Moger

“My angel,” trans. Moger

More by Boulus:

Times” and “A Pebble,” trans. Sinan Antoon

The Child of War,” trans. Antoon

“A Portrait of an Iraqi Person at the End of Time,” trans. Antoon

“To Imru’ al-Qays on his Way to the Inferno,” trans. Suneela Mubayi (with commentary)

“To the Master of the Banquet,” trans. Antoon

“The Meaning of My Prayer,”  trans. Antoon

Two Poems: “Railroad” and “A Pouch of Dirt,” trans. Antoon

“The Corpse,” trans. Antoon

“Siege,” trans. Sargon Boulus and Alistair Elliot

“Tea with Mouayed al-Rawi in a Turkish café in Berlin, The Letter Arrived,” “The Refugee Tells,” and more, trans. Youssef Rakha.

Four Poems: “The Siege,” “The Borders,” “The Letter Arrived,” and “Incident in a Mountain Village,” trans. Sargon Boulus

Four Poems: “The Ziggurat Builders” and “O Player in the Shadows,” “The Legend of al-Sayyab” and the “Silt and a Key to the House,” trans. Boulus

More by Yamani:

“The Two Houses,” trans. Rakha

“The Big Escape,” trans. Rakha

“Tobacco Seller,” trans. Rakha

“The Book,” trans. Rakha