Rawan Maki’s ‘Waves of the Future’ / ‘أمواج المستقبل’

Rawan Maki’s “Waves of the Future” originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of ArabLit Quarterly — THE SEA — and we share it free online in celebration of Women in Translation Month:

Waves of the Future

By Rawan Maki, with Nidal Khalaf

Translated by Rawan Maki

We “reclaim” land from water, taking back what was never given

We worship our own footsteps, replacing the water’s sheen

Perhaps if we tread more lightly, the shore could erase some of them

The Gulf’s waters remain wise

They know where to meet the shore on a desert island

Through ebb and flow

An equilibrium—always dynamic—a conversation

When we come to meet the future

We realize the future is here, happening all along

When we come to meet ourselves

We peel layers off, put on even more

The feminine palm leaves and masculine bark from each root

Not genderless! But gender-ful, with the beauty of both contained

Your own layers, patchwork of yourself

They will come undone, only to become repurposed

Ask not why each wave is there!

But where the ocean moves as a whole

Trust that in its vastness there is direction

Vastness is not endless, not empty

It is rich in vastness

Grasp the vastness, weave it into yourself

You will no longer see anything else

Yes, the future is here!

Sip the tea now, warm your hands

As for the set of cards in your hands right now

Admire them

Stack them! Shuffle, deal

Re-use them

Home is where you start, but also all the places where you feel yourself “becoming”

We are all recycled versions of ourselves, magnified by each re-use


 أمواج المستقبل 

روان مكي مع نضال خلاف

نسترجع أرضاً من المياه، نستعيد ما لم يهدَ

نقدّس آثار خطواتنا؛ خطواتٌ تسلب المياه بريقها 

عسانا نخطو بتمهّلٍ، لعل الساحل يمحو بعض آثارها 

وتدوم حكمة أمواج الخليج 

أمواج لم تنس خطوط اندماجها بساحل أرض الصحراء 

من مدٍ ومن جزرٍ

كأنّهما في حالة توازنٍ -تدفّقٍ-بل محادثة 

وحين نأتي لنقابل المستقبل 

نجده حاضراً، يحدث باستمرار

وحين نأتي لنقابل أنفسنا، نترقب جذوراً في الأرض

نتجرد من طبقاتٍ، ونكتسي أضعافها 

ومن كلّ جذرٍ يسمو سعف نخيل أنثوي ولحاء رجولي 

جذرٌ لا ينقصه تذكيرٌ ولا تأنيث، بل يكتمل بجمال كليهما 

قشورك أنت، رُقْعات نفسك 

ستتحلل، فقط لتجدد كيانها 

لا تسلْ كل موجة “من أين أتيتني؟”

بل اسألْ عن اتجاه البحر بأكمله 

وثقْ بأن في ذلك الوسع اتجاهٌ 

والوسع لا يكون بلا نهاية، وما هو بفارغٍ

فالوسع دوماً ممتلئٌ بالوسع 

لفّ أصابعك حول الوسع

وانسجه بنفسك 

عندها، لن تر شيئاً آخر 

نعم، لقد وصل المستقبل

فارتشف جرعة شاي، وأدفئ يديك 

أما الاوراق بين يديك 



اخلطها وانثرها 

واستعملها مرة ثانية وثالثة وبعدها رابعة 

دارك هو نقطة البداية 

ولكنه أيضاً كل النقاط التي شعرت فيها أنك “تكون” 

وما نحن إلا نماذج متجددة عن أنفسنا 

!نماذجٌ تزداد وسعاً مع كلّ استعمال


Rawan Maki is a Bahraini, London-based fashion designer and PhD candidate in Fashion Sustainability at the London College of Fashion. The way Rawan approaches sustainability—in both her designs and PhD research—is material, ethical, and social. During her design process, Rawan sketches, writes, and paints. Rawan’s PhD research looks at transitioning into sustainability and what that would entail for the Arab world on a material, cultural and socio-political level. In her designs, Rawan combines her environmental engineering background with fashion-design principles and thinks of each piece as a “system,” both aesthetically and in terms of zero-waste design principles.

Nidal Khalaf has a Master’s student in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Beirut (AUB), as well as a freelance translator and editor. Nidal’s passion for the Arabic language was nurtured at the AUB while he served as Arabic editor for Outlook, the university’s official newspaper. Currently, Nidal is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Limerick, Ireland.