the tale of my life

By Naser al-Qahtani


مسا الخيرات وان طال البطى يالمنزل المهجور

An evening of fortunes!
Our parting has grown long,
O downwards path, foregone…

—– ترا مــا ابطــــابي الا حـــالة مثلك يقـــدرهــــا

You’ll see what has slowed me
as nothing but a state
only such as you could measure.


اذا عندك عتب لا مانع من معاتب المذكور

If you have a complaint,
there is no bother
from the complaints of him you mention.

—– واذا عــز الرضى تفـــداك الاعــــذار ومقــابرها

And if pleasure grows strong,
they would ransom you,
the excuses and their ends!

انا اللي جيت لك والريح تعوي والشتا مسعور
—– ولابه مــــن دفى والمربعـــانيه بــاواخــرهـــا

I am the one who came for you
while the wind screams and the winter bites,
and while there is nothing of warmth,
and the seasons nearing ends.

تغير وانطبع دربك بلون المسك والكافــــــــور
—– وهذي رعشـة كفوفي ولابه مـــن يدثـــرهـــا

Your road changes,
instilled with the color of musk and camphor,
and these are my hands’ shaking,
with no one, now, to envelop them

بعد ماكنت اجي بابك بدستور وبلا دستور
—– ولا ادري الا وذيك الدرفه اليمنى على آخــرها

after I would come to your door,
with invite and without invite.
And I cannot recall but that,
that door was always wide open.

طموحي عارضته اللي معاها كل شي يبور
—- وجا كسر الطموح اهون علي من كسر خاطرها

My desires opposing what she has,
each of them wither…
And the breaking my desires
came like nothing to me over breaking her favor.

سنة ماقبل نذير الشيب كانت بأول الطابور
—– وكنت احلامــهـا ذيك السنه واول ســرايــرهــا

The year I knew who I was,
she was the first I saw.
And I was her dreams that year
and her unspoken desires.

لقت قدامها فوضى وقلب وشاعر وجمهور
—– وجــات ورتبتني مـــن جديد وصرت شــاعــرها

She found before her
a mess, a heart, a poet and his fans.
And she came and set me straight, anew,
and I rose to become her poet.

بقيت اسري لها لا همني وحشه ولا ديجور
—– اشيل احلامنا تحت النــــجوم وهي تفســرهــا

I began to reveal to her,
unconcerned with judgment or disapproval.
I’d lift my dreams under the stars
and she’d unravel them!

سقى الله يوم جابت لي قبل يومين من عاشور
—– هذاك العسجد اللي جابه الله من عشايرهــــا

غلاها كان تحويشة عمر بشعور فوق شعور
—– الين اكتضت الاشــــــواق والهاني تكــاثرهـــا

Her magnificence is a sum of a life of feeling upon feeling
which melded longings and pleasures teeming.

ربت ماهي تحت ريشة نعام وفي بلاط قصور
—– ولكن لاترف لـــــه قيمـــه الا تحت اوامـــرهــا

She was raised, not under a fine feather on palace tiles,
but yet, no noble has any standing save under her bidding.

يحملن امهات البيض تسع شهور تسع شهور
—– على رجوى بشايرهـــــا ولا لاحت بشــايرهــا

Pure mothers bear for nine months
—nine months!
out of a hope for her fairness!
And yet, her fairness won’t be caught.

تقـــل بدر ولا بيـــات بدر تقـــول بـــدر بـــــدور
—– ولا بيات بــــــدر بــــدور يعني مـــانت خابرهــا

You’ll say “the full moon”—
not even the shine of the full moon!
You’ll say “the fullest of full moons”—
not even the shine of the fullest of full moons—
do you mean, you haven’t heard of her?

لو استقصوك عنها مانت محتاج لشهادة زور
—– تحت سقفك سحايب ملحها وامواج سكــــرها

If they question you about her
you won’t need false testimony;
under your sky
are the clouds of her elegance
and the waves of her seduction—

مرق المتحف اللي من ورا اضلوعك فدتك الدور
—– وانا ما اقوى نظرما فيه بعد غياب ناظــــــــرها

It hits the mark,
the museum behind your ribs—
may life be given for you!
and I have no strength of sight
for what is beyond her vision…

حديقة بيت اهلها
سورها العــــالي
حمام الســــــور
زخارف بابـــهـــا
شباك غرفتـــها

her family’s house’s garden!
her high hedges!
the hedges’ doves!
her door’s ornaments!
her room’s window!
her curtains!

ورق جدرانها..سجادها..تقسيمة الديكـــــــور
—– خزاينــهــا ..هداياهـــا..رسايلـــها..خــواطـــرهــا

her walls’ paper!
her carpet!
the decor!
her stores!
her gifts!
her messages!
her talks!

تحفها..مزهريتها..قصصها..شعرها المكسور
—– صورها..مكتبتها..اقلامــهــا..لـــمــة دفـــاتـــرهــا

her prizes!
her vases!
her stilted poetry!
her pictures!
her writings!
her pens!
the collection of her files!

زمام السيف ..شال الليل..حنا الكف..كحل الحور
—– حلقها..عطرها..فستانها الابيــــض..جــواهــرهــا

the sword’s halter!
the night’s shawl!
the hand’s henna!
the eye’s kohl
her gems!
her earrings!
her perfume!
her white dress!

مرايتها..فصوص الساعه البيضا ام خمس سيور
—– خواتمها..قـــلايد جيــــدها..نقشـــات اســـاورهــا

her mirrors!
jewels of the white watch of hers of five gears!
her rings!
her neck’s bands!
her bracelets’ designs!

ملابسها..بروق الوانهـــــا..دولابهـــــا الممطــور
—– من ازرقها..الى احمرها الى اخضرها الى اصفرها

her clothes!
her colors’ flair!
her rained cabinet—
from her blues to her reds to her greens to her yellows—

نسانيس الهوا اللي ترتشف يشمومها المنثور
—— صخيفات المناديل اللــــــي احتضنت عبـــايـــرها

the whispers of the wind carrying her scattered scent!
the pulls of the cloth which embraced her tears!

مصابيح المكان اللي خذا منه النهار النـــــــور
—— سنون مشاطها اللـــي مانست عشرة ظفايرهــا

lamps where the day took, from her, its light!
the teeth of her combs that never forget a twist of her braids!

بطاقات(ن) يطرزها صغار(ن) يحملون زهـــور
—– رحيل الدبلــــه اللـــي مــاتهنت في خنــاصــرهــا

pictures, her cheeks embroider as they bloom roses!
the falling of the ring which wasn’t good enough for fingers—

زوايا كنهــــــــا بلــــور في بلــــور في بلـــور
—– مسى رزنامة(ن) غـاب الحـــرير اللـــي يغيـــرهــا

though it was angles like crystal within crystal within crystal!
the touch of the calendar, gone is the silk which would turn it!


وش اقول لـ يتاماها الكثير الممتلين كسور
—– وانا اشياهـــا تحـــاصـــرني واحسبني محاصــرها


And I, her things surround me while I presumed I surrounded them.

بكيت وصارت الدنيا قفص واستوحش العصفور
—– ضحكت وملت شبوك القفص من كذب طـــــايرهـــا

I cried, and the world became a bird cage,
and the sparrow longed.

I laughed, and the bars of the bird-cage collapsed
from the strain of its birds’ lies.

عرفت شلون الارض تدور وايام الزمان تدور
—– والاعيان انصفت كيف ومتى تذبـــــح مــحـــاجرهــا

I learned what color the earth turns
And the days of time that turn,
and the people how they things are
and when their paths will end,

ومتى تصير القبور بيوت وتصيرالبيوت قبور
—– وكيف الذكريـــــــات يذوب مـــاضيهـــا بحـــاضـرهــا

and when graves will become houses
and when houses will become graves,
and how memories will mix their past with their present—

على الله وانت ابيك المتحف اللي للعرب معذور
—– الى جتك العيـــون وصـــــدت ابوابـــك نواظـــرهـــا

upon Allah! and with you the museum
which for the Arabis is excused,
which the eyes came to,
your doors barring its sight.

تمر اجيال وتصدر سواليف وتعيش عصـــــــــور
—— وتروي سالفة عمري مــــن اولهـــا الــى اخرهـــا

You’ll pass by generations,
you’ll record tales,
you’ll live through the ages,
And you’ll tell “the tale of my life”
from its beginning to its end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *