Friday Finds: Ra’ad Abdul Qadir’s ‘Minorities’

Over at the multilingual Specimen, editors have posted Mona Kareem’s translation of Ra’ad Abdul Qadir’s “Minorities”:

There is also a translation into French — as Minorités — by Lotfi Nia.

Iraqi poet Ra’ad Abdul Qadir has authored five poetry collections, and has been a long-time editor of the literary magazine Aqlam. Two of Qadir’s collections were published after his death from a heart attack in 2003. He also left a booklength manuscript that has yet to be published.

A translation of Abdul Qadir’s “His Life” also appears in 15 Iraqi Poetsed. Dunya Mikhail.

The Arabic opens:

أقلية أولى

المترجم الكلداني ينظر إلى سائق الشاحنة
من المحتم أنها أقلية، لقد كان لها مجد غابر
السائق الصابئي يوقف الشاحنة قرب شجرة
ويقول لحامل الشعلة: احفر هنا

The English, tr. Mona Kareem:

First Minority

The Chaldean translator turns to the truck driver:
“It must be a minority. It has the dust of a past glory.”
The Mandaean driver stops his truck next to a tree,
He tells the torchbearer: “Dig here.”

And the opening of the French translation, by Lotfi Nia:

Minorité un

Le traducteur chaldéen regarde le chauffeur de la fourgonnette
Elle a tout d’une minorité, avec sa gloire surannée
Le chauffeur sabéen arrête le camion près d’un arbre
Creuse ici, dit-il au porteur de la torche

You can also read his A Song for the Lightning Bird, tr. Kareem.