Friday Finds: Poet Golan Haji in Four Languages

LyrikLine has recently added 15 poems by Syrian poet-translator-pathologist Golan Haji, in the original Arabic, as well as in German, French, and English translations:

There are also translations into audio performances of the Arabic original.

The poem هِلال, for instance, opens:


رقّقتَ ألمك.

صبياً، على الحدود، وضعْتَهُ كفلسٍ تحت عجلاتِ القطارات
وتقَلّدَتْهُ في الحقول فتاةٌ أحببتَها

In the German, translated by Sonja vom Brocke.:


Du hast deinen Schmerz verschmälert.

Als Junge an der Grenze legtest du ihn unter die Zugräder wie einen Piaster
und ein Mädchen, das du liebtest, trug ihn auf den Feldern als Halskette

In the French, translated by Nathalie Bontemps:


Tu as poli ta douleur.

Enfant, à la frontière, tu l’as posée comme un sou sous les roues des trains
Et, dans les champs, une fille que tu aimais s’en est fait un collier.

In the English, translated by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts:


You thinned your pain.

As a boy, on the frontier, you placed it like a small coin under the wheels of a train
And a girl you loved made herself a necklace of it in the fields

You can find the whole beautiful trans-lingual web at

You can also get Haji’s world-bending collection, A Tree Whose Name I Don’t Knowtr. himself and Stephen Watts.