Poem Translation: Incomprhensible by Deek al-Jin

Translations, Uncategorized

عصيّ على الفهم..

بغرغرة الحوت يشعر بالموت يجري مع الدم..
وتمنعه سنوات من العنفوان العظيم بأن يستحيل طعاما ..
وأن يغدو منهشة لصغار السمك..
فيجنح في كبرياء مهيب..
نحو شطّ غريب ..
يموت عليه وحيدا..

ببؤس الحمامة حين يختطف القط روح زغاليلها في الظلام..
ويقعدها الجبن عن أن تحاول إنقاذ تلك العيون الصغيرة ..
تلك الضلوع الكسيرة..
فتجلس رابضة فوق غصن قريب..
تراقب هذا العشاء الأخير بقلب محطم..

بكل الأسى الذي يسكن صدر حصان أصيل..
ألقت به الريح ..
بعد سنين الفحولة..
بعد عصور البطولة..
في يد سائس بائس يعرضه في مهرجان ملون..
ليصبح تسلية للصغار ..

بحزن الفدائي يجلس فوق حطام ربوع صباه..
يعانق بارودة باردة..
يعض على الشفة الجامدة..
يحاول أن يتذكر ما كان قبل الطغاة وقبل الغزاة وقبل انهيار سماء الوطن..
يفكر فيها وفي أمه العاجزة..
أما زالتا حيتين؟
أما زال في العمر متسع للأمل؟
يحدق نحو السماء ..
فيدرك أن قد لا يعود ..
وإن عاد قد لا يراها..
وقد لا يرى أمه..
يعانق بارودة باردة..
ويعض على الشفة الجامدة..

بحزن عصي على الفهم.. آتي إليك..
بقلب عصي على الفرح .. آتي إليك..
بنفس تمور كما الطير في لحظات النزاع الأخيرة.. آتي إليك..
فلا تتركيني..

Incomprehensible

Gargling, the whale senses death running through his blood

Memories of his heyday forbid him from turning into food,

Into a feeding ground for little fish

So he flees with majestic pride

Toward an unknown shore

And dies there, alone

 

 

With the misery of a pigeon whose babies’ souls a cat kidnaps in the darkness

and whom cowardice forces into surrender instead of trying to save those small eyes,

those broken ribs

So she sits idly on a nearby branch

And watches this last supper with a broken heart

 

With all the woefulness in a thoroughbred’s heart

Whom the winds threw

After years of strength

And eras of heroism

in the hands of a miserable manager

who puts him on display in a colorful festival

as entertainment for children

 

In sorrow, the freedom fighter sits on the debris of his youth

hugging a cold rifle

biting a frozen lip

Trying to remember what he was before the tyrants and invaders, and before the sky of the homeland collapsed

He thinks of it and his powerless mother

Are they still alive?

Is there still room in the years left of his life for hope?

He gazes toward the sky

And realizes he might never go back

And if he does, he might not see her

nor his mother

He hugs the cold rifle

and bites the frozen lip

 

With incomprehensible sadness, I come to you

With a heart incapable of happiness, I come to you

With a soul heaving, like a bird in its final moments, I come to you

So don’t leave me.

 

This poem was originally posted on Deek al-Jin’s Facebook page on 30 March, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Syrian Cuisine and the Strange Names of its Dishes

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

Syrians take pride in their cuisine among Arab countries as it is very rich and has not become a commercial and touristic exporte like the Moroccan or Lebanese cuisines, for example. It remained a hidden gem that you’ll only taste if you visit Syria or a Syrian home.

Syrians have dispersed because of the war and carried their cuisine with them to the countries of refuge.

Forget the dishes that first come to mind when thinking of Syrian cusine — Shawerma, Hummus, and Kubbeh. These are typical dishes and ones the Syrian kitchen shares with the rest of the Arab world.

We are talking about local dishes sung by the locals while many wonder whether they are really names of dishes or television competitions: Shish Barak, Al- Basha wa ‘Asakro, Ash Shakriyeh, Haraq Usaba’o, Sheikh al-Mahshi, Kishk al-Fuqara’, and others with strange names.

“These dishes cannot be older than the 17th century,” says Rita Barish, Syrian cuisine expert currently living in Berlin. She explains that in recent centuries, nutrition has turned into more of a luxury in terms of the ingredients with the development of factors that led to an increase in production and abundance, in addition to the world’s introduction to potatoes and tomatoes following the discovery of the two Americas, which changed the world’s cuisines.”

***

This is an excerpt of an article by Islam al-Kalhi. Read the full original Arabic article on Raseef 22.

Yaffa cover, nibal qundos

Translated Excerpt from Nibal Qundos’ Novel “Yafa: A Story of Absence and Rain”

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We’re going deeper into Autumn. It seems winter’s coming early this year, fortunately for those of us whom rain brings so much joy; earthly beings that come alive with rain, their hearts fluttering. In thinking of happiness, I think about visiting Yafa on the first rainy day. She might open her door to me in the winter. Maybe she’ll need some company, someone to sit with in front of the fireplace on rainy evening.

Rain makes us more fragile,  more needing to confess.Its droplets tapping on our windows and pouring yearning into our hearts, make us in more need of a friend or a lover to share the craziness of dancing  under the rain with and walking for hours tirelessly. How beautiful it is to reward ourselves with a warm cup of coffee from an old coffee shop that still believes in the necessity of playing Fairouz in the early morning and to watch from behind glass windows the passersby in their winter coats and hats and others seeking shelter beneath their umbrellas. Those umbrellas whose existence I still think is silly.There is nothing more beautiful than the patter of rain drops  on our heads, grown tired by the summer and longing for a warm moment, like someone  wrapping you in their coat, holding your cold hands and breathing some warmth into them.

“In My Heart Is A Jewish Girl (Pt. 2)”

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

in my heart 2

Nada replied, “It’s okay… what’s happening around us makes us forget that we worship the same God, even if the details and conditions differ.”

Ahmad drifted for a moment, trying to take in her shocking words. He hadn’t gotten close to any Arab Jews before and didn’t know anything about their way of thinking. His main conception of them was that they secretly hate Muslims. But this girl standing in front of him is saying things unlike what he was accustomed to. Her words made him doubt many things he thought was sure of.

Her voice interrupted his thoughts. She clarified, “Don’t think what I’m saying is strange… I grew up in a family of different religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There are no boundaries between them.

Excerpt from Dr. Khawla Hamdi’s Novel “In My Heart Is A Jewish Girl” (Pt.1)

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

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Nada stopped and turned to him, giving him her attention.

“Miss… you’re Jewish, right?”

Nada immediately looked down at the Star of David that gave her away from the start and did not respond.

“Then why are you helping us?”

She lifted her eyes, annoyed, and exclaimed, “What does my religion have to do with offering humanitarian help? Doesn’t your religion teach you to show mercy and kindness and give a helping hand to anyone who needs it, regardless of their religion or faith? Isn’t that the message of all Abrahamic religions?”

Ahmad was bewildered and taken aback by her response. He hung his head ashamed. A Jewish girl giving him a lesson in morals!

All he could do was mumble an apology, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”