Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Translation of a Poem

There is something about war and violence that makes love ever brighter. I have no explanation, following is someting I jotted down in Arabic to reply to a post by Eve, and I have grown to like it, so I translated it.. just for the heck of it! During war,, people cuddle around, hugs are longer, kisses are warmer... the fear of loss makes every moment as good as a lifetime..
Arabic is a language of music and poetry. No translation would ever do an Arabic poem any favour.. Arabic to Arabs is a sacred language,  it is music, theatre, sculpture, colour, and painting altogether entwined.... It is for that reason perhaps that Arabs fail to make themselves understood (one of many reasons.. I should say)... 
        The nails of your body gather my ashes
        I... the Phoenix
        And I float in a sea of rain drops.. and scent

Your napkins I carry along.. like wine cask Priest's incense, like empty bread baskets


Of the dust of your face I build a shrine for love… I sow grain

Of the light of your eyes I make a star in heaven

Of the scent of your hair I gasp to fill my lungs

I spread them napkins to make sails   

To cruise between droplets

To loose you, too seek you, to find you..


Wings of fallen angels carry me away of the eternal heaven

To the land of sin and land of love

I strike my stick and water bursts

.. birds come by and I steal you a tune…

I split the sea to fetch you a bouquet of pearl

… I take-off my past to make you a gown of memories

And return to you.. my queen


She says "I know you"

Because I know your words

I count your breaths

And I gather the fire of your rage to dry my wet hair


O Lady… I carry the spear and the dagger,

I lock the doors,

Raise the barriers,

Break the stones,

And stab the ground…


But inside, I am the Guardian of the Rose Garden..






حارس حديقة الورد

مسامير جسمك تجمع رمادي
أنا الفينيق
وأطفو في بحر من قطرات المطر

محارم الورق دنان الخمر أحملها
بخور كهنة
وسلال خبز فارغة

من غبار وجهك أبني كعبة للعشق
وأزرع الحنطة
ومن نور عينيك أصنع نجمة في السماء
واشهق لتمتلئ رئتي بعبير شعرك
فأنشر المحارم أشرعة
وأبحر بين القطرة والقطرة
لأجدك .. لأضيعك ... لأبحث عنك

تحملني أجنحة الملائكة الهاربة من جنة الخلد
إلى أرض المعاصي وأرض العشق
فأضرب بعصاي الصخر لينبجس الماء
ولتدنو العصافير فأخطف لك دندنة
وأشق البحر لأقطف لك باقة من اللؤلؤ
وأخلع الماضي فأصنع لك ثوباً من الذكريات
وأعود إليك مليكتي

 وتقول لي أعرفك

لأني أعرف كلماتك

وأعدد أنفاسك

وأجمع نار غضبك لأجفف شعري المبتل


أنا يا سيدتي أحمل الرمح والخنجر

وأوصد الأبواب

وأرفع الستار

وأفتت الأحجار

وأفلح الأرض 


..  والمهنة: حارس حديقة الورد


Monday, January 22, 2007

Beirut's Little Guardians... &Desert Ships

Last Saturday, it was dreadfully stormy in Beirut. I got out of the Gym, and felt like a Corn Arnous (roasted Corn Kernel) & perhaps Nescafe on Ein Mreiseh.

Those who know the Corniche Ein Mreiseh facing AUB would know how the waves crash on the railings and over the pavement. I thought perhaps I'd test the madness of whoever would push a cart to sell Corn and Coffee in such weather.

Well, there you go – on the way – following observations:
1- Pouring Rain, guys having their cars washed at Car-Wash Station. Makes sense! Rain on a clean car is cleaner, and, the inside has to be Vacuum cleaned &polished.
2- From afar, I saw a line of cars near the pavement of the seaside awaiting their turn to be window served under the pouring rain.
3- Not only did I get my roast corn reward, I had Foul with extra-salt and lemon and cumin, at regular prices, followed by another stop at the Coffee Cart for 500 LL.

My Conclusion:
1- Lebanese are mad people, myself-included; there's no reason to stop such lively madness though.
2- Whatever drives the Cart-Owners to leave home in such a storm and stay in the rain is a combination of service excellence and inability to survive without one day's pay. Strikes do not serve either purpose.
3- Whatever drives people to leave home, get their cars washed, and wander around the Corniche in such a storm is love of life, perhaps terrible frustration of what one hears on TV, and determination to move on. Strikes and Politicians are counter productive in that sense: Burnt tires get cars dirty, there's no where to get the car washed, or even to go out with the car. Politicians on the other hand are filth-engendered.
4- I haven't heard of an MP or a Speaker, a PM (elected, removed twice by popular revolt "Omar Karami" or militarily assigned), a minister (incumbent, resigned, or Mr. Weam Wahab), or anyone else with a Divine or Earthly conquest or vocation whatsoever, who has to work under the rain, or who has an installment to pay, or a child to put in school. I'm eager to know if the resigned ministers have returned their "pay-Cheques" since November?

Politicians are our "public servants," not our masters. I for one have no master whether hereditary, political, self-proclaimed, or divinely assigned. While I encourage and welcome the disabled brothers and sisters to run for office, Mental Disability does not qualify for a Handicap Parking – especially where politicians are concerned.

For some of us, leaving this country is easy – worse, living in a bubble in this country is even easier. It is those people who make the bread and coffee of this country that guard it. They are the people, they ARE the country – they are the Guardians.

Our tragedy is that politics is the game of the big guys, and the telltale of the middle class. It is something to practice when other basic needs are fulfilled. Them politicians and self-assigned saviors have pushed political thought and "causes" down to the lowest stratum of the society – Paris III is what a taxi driver would be defending, Divine Victory is what the Falafel-Shop owner is arguing for,… Colonialism, or the right of Iran to build nuclear arsenal, or the Hegemony of the US is what the lowest most deprived, most ill-treated, most-ignorant, most-tired stratum of society is discussing instead of their livelihood, or their future. The oppressor is always "the other side". Those people fail to see that their biggest oppressors are their own. Their Fuedal Rulers, their Beiks, their Political Party Leaders, and their clerics.:

They have busied the people with filth. They have fooled the people. In the name of God, in the name of Bread, in the name of Right, in the name of revolution, in the name of salvation, they have lied.

For the sake of clarity. I am biased! I do take sides! I am pro-government because I dislike the figures of the opposition. That's not a smart or intelligent choice, some of you would say - But then again, neither one of us on this blog have to walk or work in the rain or starve – so we can afford to argue this over coffee, someone else has to Prepare the Coffee.. and he has barely any energy left to go on.

So… I have what it seems as a fair proposition. Let us all go down to the streets, let us carry the opposition politicians and the government politicians, and hurl them all in a sinking ship. Wait!!! Add the religious clerics from the 18 recognized confessions. Except for Haifa Wehbi, you are welcome to add a selection from the entertainment industry – Mr. Wahab is my choice to go into the engine room.

I would have said the one who survives let us make him president, and then I remembered that we have at least one very good swimmer.

Make it the middle of the Desert then; perhaps the winged horses could fly some of them back. Better go without 10 innocent politicians (yeah right…) than keep the whole herd alive.

The wonderful Eve was encouraging us to write something for the blog. Now you have my answer to abstention, I was keeping quiet because what I have to say cannot be said in public.

They should all go.