Friday Finds: ‘Birds / Have No Hands’

Ahmed Shafie ( is an Egyptian poet, novelist, and translator who oddly does not have a collection in English translation, although his work has been translated by Robin Moger and, here, by Humphrey Davies:

Shafie was a 2014 resident at the University of Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Program, and he’s the author of the acclaimed collection 77 (2017), which made several “best of 2017” lists. Before that, he published Other Poems (2009), and A Side Street Ending in a Fountain (2000), and he’s also published two novels: The Creator (2013) and Sousou’s Journey  (2003).

He’s also an award-winning translator; his translation of Russell Edson’s Collected Prose Poems was one of Muhammad Abdelnaby’s “favorite reads” of 2015.

This latest translation, by multi-award-winning translator and scholar Humphrey Davies, appears in Rusted RadishesIt is taken from his collection 77, where it was untitled.

It opens:


have no hands.

They don’t expect a crutch

in old age

Or a pat on the back

in their moment of weakness

Or rings

Or keys

Or a goodbye wave.

Keep reading at Rusted Radishes.

Self-translated by Shafie:

In Defense of Readers

Translated by Robin Moger:

From Seedings

11 poems by Ahmed Shafie

An excerpt from The Creator

Two poems by Ahmed Shafie