Friday Finds: Cure Your Slavery with Patience

This Friday find comes from ArabLit’s comments section, where poet Marilyn Hacker shared her translation of a poem by Saniyah Saleh (1939-1995), moving it into both French and English:

During her lifetime, Saleh’s poetry — while published and acclaimed in small circles — remained in the shadow of work by her husband, the renowned poet Muhammad al-Maghout.

Thanks to poet Iman Mersal, there has been a small renaissance of interest in Saleh’s poetry, published separately in journals and brought together in two collections that appeared in 1964 and 1970.

An excerpt of a poem dedicated to her daughters Sham and Sulafa “You Will Go Out of the Body’s Walls,” was translated by Issa Boullata. Translations by Robin Moger, of “Some Thing” and “The Storm Takes the Heart,” recently appeared online.

Hacker’s translation:

Cure your slavery with patience

and prayers

or so I was told

Cure your oppression and memory with sleep

as for me

I sat under the high, thorny trees

until they flowered


Soignez votre esclavage avec patience

Et prière

On me l’a dit

Soignez votre oppression et votre mémoire avec le sommeil

Quant à moi

Je me suis assise sous des hauts arbres épineux

Jusqu’à ce qu’ils ont fleuri


عالجوا عبوديّتكم بالصبر


هكذا قيل لي

عالجوا قهركم وذاكرتكم بالنوم

أمّا أنا

فقد جلست تحت أشجار الشوك العالية

حتّى أزهرت”

( سنية صالح )