Stephen Watts 
Translator

on Lyrikline: 19 poems translated

from: العربية, السلوفانية to: الانجليزية

Original

Translation

(المتلصّص)

العربية | Golan Haji

من ثقبين في قلبِ الشجرة
       ينظرُ إلينا الضوء
        مثل طفلٍ يلهو بالصور
            اسمهُ الموت،
     ويرى كيف اقتُلِعتِ الزهور
      فاقتلَعتْ جذورُها عظامنا.

في مدنٍ شُيَّدت من أصواتِ الموتى
   أمكنةٌ لن ندخلَها لأنها مثلنا
        بعيدةٌ مكروهةٌ رخيصة،
      أرقامٌ ترفعُ رؤوسَها وتفسدُ الأحاديث؛

كنا غُرَفاً على سطحِ العالم
    بناها الضوءُ من الصمت
      يستأجرها طلبةٌ وعمّالُ بناءٍ مفلسون،
     وتظلّلها دائماً
         كلماتٌ كثيرةٌ وسخة.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

The Voyeur

الانجليزية

Through two holes from the heart of the tree,
light is looking at us
like a child who plays with pictures
and whose name is Death,
seeing how flowers were plucked
with their roots uprooting our bones.

In cities erected from the voices of the dead
are places we will not enter because they are like us
– distant and cheap –
are numbers that raise their heads and spoil the conversations.

We were rooms on the roof of the world
that light built from silence,
rented by penniless students and construction workers,
always shaded
by many dirty words. 

Translated from the Arabic by Golan Haji in collaboration with Jesper Berg and Stephen Watts.
Published in Syria Speaks, Saqi Books, London, 2014

(بئر في مقبرة بعيدة)

العربية | Golan Haji

تحت شجرةِ جوز زرعها غراب
      بئرٌ حفرَها مجنونٌ بإبرة
         ففاضت حبراً.

كانت الكلمةُ.
تتأرجحُ باتجاه الورقة
     مثل فانوسٍ يهبطُ بئراً مطليةً بالكلس
          حبلهُ في يدِ طفل.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

A Well In A Distant Cemetery

الانجليزية

Under a walnut tree planted by a raven
there’s a well that a madman dug out with a needle
so that ink gushed forth.

The word was.
Swaying in towards the page
like a lantern descending a white-washed well
its rope in the hand of a child.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in A Tree Whose Name I Don’t Know by A Midsummer Night's Press, New York, 2017

المسيح العجوز

العربية | Golan Haji

(بعد بونار) 
- إلى جنان عبادي-


-1-
لا شفاءَ من هذا التردُّد.
قلَقٌ ألِفْتَهُ،
    كموجِ النهر بين عدوّين،
      هادئاً يعود.
مَنْ صوّرك؟
بلبلكَ الوميضُ فاختلّتْ خطاك
      وتداركتَ الخوفَ بشمِّ وردةٍ
              لا يراها في الغبار سواك،
أيُّها الناحل، الصائمُ أربعين يوماً.
كارهاً ملمسَ الماء والمعجزات،
    خلقتَ من النبيذِ الأصفر سمكةَ عُرس
                 ومستحمّاتِكَ من غبارِ الدرَّاق.
مسحوراً بالنُّقصان، فاتتكَ اللمسةُ الأخيرة.


-2-
مَنْ نازَلك؟
أقبضتاكَ مشدودتان قليلاً
    لأنَّ العدساتِ في كلّ الزوايا،
       ولا مخبأ للتُّعساء والحيارى؟
يقدحُ الله، هذا المساء، بروقَ نيسان
    مُصوّراً ما لا يُرى في الأرحام.
ينفخُ الموتى في جذوعِ البتولا لحنَ أورغن منسياً،
وأنت واقفٌ وحدك، مُغْضياً عاريَ الصدر،
     وجهُكَ المحمرّ بابٌ موصَدٌ انهالتْ عليه الأيادي
               وسلخَتْه الشمسُ والعار،
       لسانك زاهدٌ عن تسديد أيّةِ ضربة-
واقفٌ وحدك، ملاكِماً انزلقتْ من يديهِ الريشةُ والقفازات
        في حلبةٍ لا يبارحُها
       لأنه عاجزٌ عن الانصراف
           جاهلٌ إلى أين سيمضي.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

The Old Christ

الانجليزية

                                                (after Pierre Bonnard & for Jinane Abbadi)


There’s no cure for this hesitancy.
An unease you’re familiar with 
            Like river waves between two enemies
                        Quietly ebbing back.
Who shot you ?
The flashbulb befuddled you into losing your balance 
            & you duped your fear by smelling a rose 
                        No one sees in the dust but you,
You the emaciated, who fasted for forty days.
Detesting the touch of water and miracles,
            You created a wedding fish from white wine, 
                        Bathing women from the dust of peaches.
Fascinated by imperfection, you missed the final touch.


Who fought you ?
Are your fists a little clenched
            Because there are camera lenses in every corner,
                        And the perplexed & miserable have nowhere to hide ?
This evening, God sparks April’s lightning,
            Photographing what’s unseen in the womb.
The dead are blowing a forgotten organ tune in the birch trunks,
And you are standing alone, eyes lowered & chest naked,
            Your reddened face a bolted door hammered by hands,
                        blistered by the sun & the shame.
Your tongue abstains from any blow,
You standing alone, a boxer no longer holding brush or gloves 
            In an arena he never leaves
            Because he is unable to depart,
                        Not knowing where he can go.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Modern Poetry in Translation, 2017

(وأنتَ تغادرُ غرفةً مشمسة ناداك صوتٌ "ابقَ")

العربية | Golan Haji

بيتُ العنكبوت
      في الزاويةِ اليمنى لنافذة الشمال
              لم تزحزحْهُ الريح-
            بيتٌ أسود يدمغ نافذتك كباقي الختْمِ على طابعِ رسالةٍ
                                   رُدَّت إلى صاحبها ولم تُفْتَحْ-
انتبهتَ حين مسحتَ البصماتِ وغبارَ الأيام عن النظّارة
                    بقطعةٍ من خِمارِ جدّتك،
        وأزحتَ ستارةً من الغصون والأوراق:
                      موحلاً لا يزالُ طريقُكَ الضيق.
لا يلذُّ لك البرد.
    لولا هذه الأيام، قلتَ،
         ما حياتي التي يربِكها الربيع
          إلا سحابةٌ هطلتْ عليّ وحدي
             وبدّلتْ لونَ تلك التلة-
                         من فستقيٍّ يرفرفُ على قبرِ جدّي
                                       إلى السماويّ في عينيّ ابنتي.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

While Leaving A Sunny Room A Voice Called Saying : “Stay”

الانجليزية

The spider’s house
            In the right angle of the northern window
            Has not been touched by the wind –
                        A black house imprinted on your window like traces
                                   Of a seal on the stamp of a letter
                                               Returned unopened to the sender –
You noticed it when you cleansed your eyeglasses of fingerprints & the dust of days
            With a piece of your grandmother’s headscarf,
                        And pulled back a curtain of branches and leaves :
                                   Your narrow road still is muddy.

You don’t savour the cold.
Were it not for these days, you said,
            My life that’s been confused by spring
                        Would be a cloud that rained only on me 
                                   And changed the colours of that hill :
                                   From pistachio-green fluttering above my grandfather’s grave
                                               To the sky-blue of my daughter’s eyes.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Modern Poetry in Translation, 2017

أعشاش فارغة

العربية | Golan Haji

الضبابُ بخارُ كلمةٍ نُطقتْ ولم نسمعها.
الحائرات رأين هلالاً أرقَّ من خيطِ العنكبوت
مزّقه الصيادون.
آذانهنّ علاماتُ استفهام
سقطت أقراطُها في الوحل
برّاقةً كعينِ ببغاء
لم يُلقَّنْ إلا كلمةً وحيدة:
وداعاً.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

Empty Nests

الانجليزية

Fog is the vapour of a word uttered but never heard.
Perplexed women saw a crescent thinner than a spider's thread
torn apart by fishermen.
Their ears were question marks
whose earrings had fallen in the mud –
shiny as the eye of a parrot
which has come to learn just the single word :
Farewell.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in A Tree Whose Name I Don’t Know by A Midsummer Night's Press, New York, 2017

*** [العصفورُ الذي رفرفَ عن سلكِ]

العربية | Golan Haji

العصفورُ الذي رفرفَ عن سلكِ الغسيل تعرّفَ إليّ دون أن يعرفَ اسمي. كانت ساقاه أنحلَ من السلك؛ ولكنهما تخدمان حياته جيداً. أفزعتهُ بظهوري فأطلقَ الفزعُ جناحيه عالياً. لا فرقَ لديه بين سائر الأشكال التي يُطْلَقُ عليها اسمُ البشر؛ سيانِ أنا أو سواي، فعيناه البراقتان لا تستأمنان أحداً. أما أنا فأكره إني أحرسُ اسمي الذي وُهِبْتهُ كي يأسرَني، أجرَّه ويجرَّني، فالتصقَ بوجهي وصار جزءاً من نبرة صوتي، أستغربه أحياناً إذا قرأتهُ أو سمعته، أو أضجر منه وأمقته. كالآخرين جميعاً، أمضيتُ وقتاً طويلاً كي أسجنَ نفسي في اسمي، إذ كلُّ امرئ يُدفَنُ حياً في اسمه: قبرٌ من الخوف والمتعة وسوء الفهم.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

*** [The sparrow that flew down from the washing-line...]

الانجليزية

The sparrow that flew down from the washing-line recognized me without knowing my name. His legs were thinner than the line, weak but they served his needs well. I terrified him when I appeared & the terror took his wings high & away. He doesn’t differentiate between all of us who are called human; it’s the same whether it’s me or someone else since his shining eyes don’t feel safe with any of us. But I hate it that I keep watch over the name I was given to capture me, that I drag it & it drags me, and that it’s stuck to my face & has become part of my voice. Sometimes it seems strange to me when I read it or hear it, or it bores me & I detest it. Like everyone I have spent a long time imprisoning myself in my name, since all of us are buried alive, each in his own : a grave of fear & delight & misunderstanding. 

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Jadaliyya, 2012

ضوء آذار

العربية | Golan Haji

انظُرْ:
الغيمةُ فوق رأسك
       مثل بطنِ حيوانٍ تحبُّ أن تداعبه،
الثلجُ يغطّي في الظلّ
           حجراً وكسرةَ خبز.
أتسمعُ الريحَ بين غصونِ الخوخ المزهرة؟
هل فهمتني؟
إنهُ الصباح،
الهواءُ أصفى من عيوننا
    ولا أحدَ يتركُ أثراً في مرآة.


© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

March Light

الانجليزية

Raise your eyes
to the cloud above your head:
it’s like the belly of an animal
you’d like to play with.
Snow in the shadow
covers a stone & crumbs of bread.
 
Do you hear the wind
between the blossoming peach branches?
Ah, you understand me?
 
It’s morning, the air is sharper than our eyes
and no one leaves any trace
in the mirror.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Jadaliyya, 2012

(فقّاعة)

العربية | Golan Haji


القصة ألمٌ لا يُحكى في قصةٍ لا تُحْكى.
وكلما وصفتُ محوتُ ما أحسّ.
لم أنظرْ بعينيّ فلم أرَ سواي،
أرى ما أفهمه فلا أراني ولا أرى أحداً.
مَن لمسني انتهكني.
أرّقني ما هَدهدني.
وأينما جلستُ تجذّرتُ
أحدّقُ في الأسى
فتبدو المغادرةُ أشقَّ من الوصول
وندمُ عينيّ لا يكفي لينيرَ طريقَ الرجوع.
أسأنجو من النجاة؟
ماذا سيجري
إذا سافرتُ
وعضضتُ حبلَ الصبر
وتسوّلتُ وجُننتُ في بلادِ الآخرين؟
ترمّلتْ يدي اليسرى.
ورائي، ثمة مَن ينظرُ إلى يدي اليمنى:
يد محطَّمة أصابعُها لم تُمسّ
تحبو أمام شفاهِ المتكلّمين الممزَّقة.
كثُرَ المتنصّتون فكثُرَتْ كالترّهات زلاتُ لساني
ثم تغاضوا وأنقذوني لكي يحتقروني.
سُئلتُ رأيي فتبخّر كتأتأةِ المذنبين،
ثرثرتُ كَمَنْ يتعرّى
وتشبّثتُ بالهواء تشبُّثَ الغريق بشَعرة.
اتُّهِمتُ، صمتُّ أو نطقت،
ولغتي التي تباطأتْ واختلّتْ
كفقّاعةٍ فسُدَ هواؤها
فقأتُها بذروةِ أنفي.
لُوحقتُ في أوهامي،
وتلاشتْ نقودي، فجأةً كالمجرمين،
فتكرّر إفلاسي وما تلاشى خوفي:
أخافني مَن رأيتُ وما رآني
ما يفضحُ الرسائل
ومَن يشدُّ أذني
لأعيشَ واقفاً على رؤوسِ أصابعي
أخافني وأخفاني
الغاضبون والمذعورون والساخرون والوشاة على الدرّاجات
ودفعني إلى حتفي
ما نسيتُ ومَنِ التقيتُ
فصدّقتُ ما يُقال
ثم صدّقتُ ما لا يُقال
فانطَلَتْ عليّ كلُّ الحيل
وظلّ خطأي خطأ لم يُغْتَفَرْ
ولم يحدُثْ شيءٌ في حياتي التي تنقضي
لم تحدُثْ حياتي.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

Bubble

الانجليزية

The story is an unspeakable pain in another unspeakable story.
Whenever I described something I erased what I feel.
I didn’t look with my eyes so I saw none but myself,
I see what I understand so I neither see myself nor anyone else.
Who touched me violated me.
What lulled me made me sleepless.
Wherever I sat I was rooted
Gazing into grief
And so departing seems more difficult than the journey.
The penitence in my eyes isn’t enough to light the way back.
Will I survive this survival ?
What will happen
If I travelled
And bit on the rope of patience
And begged and ran mad in the country of others ?
My left hand is widowed.
Behind me someone’s looking at my right hand :
A smashed hand with its fingers intact
Crawling in front of the torn lips of those who’d spoken.
Eavesdroppers were many, so slips of my tongue become many like nonsenses
Then they overlooked them and rescued me to despise me.
I was asked my opinion and it evaporated like stammerings of guilt,
I blurted things out as if undressing myself
I grabbed at air as a drowning man at hair.
I was accused whether I kept silent or spoke,
And my language slowed down and lost balance
Like a bubble with its air rotted
And I popped it on the tip of my nose.
I was being chased inside my delusions,
My coinage like criminals vanished suddenly,
My pennilessness was repeated again and again but my fear never vanished :
I was scared by whoever I saw not seeing me
By what scandalises messages
By whoever pulled my ear
To keep me alive standing on tiptoes,
They scared and concealed me :
The angry, the horrified, the cynical and informants on bicycles
And I was pushed toward my end
By what I forgot and by whom I met
So I believed what was said
Then I believed what was not said
And all these ruses tricked me
And the fault remains unforgiveable in me
And nothing happened in my passing life
My life that never happened.  

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in The Wolf magazine, issue 33, 2016.

نهاية الأيام

العربية | Golan Haji

 إلى Elena Lydia Scipioni
 
نجَتْ أفعى عسليةُ العينين ورَوَتْ ما جرى:

في حقولنا المحترقة رسمني الأمسُ بزبدِ فمه، على جدارٍ تفحّم كسبُّورة سوداء أمام تلامذةٍ خائفين، فرأيتُموني صورةً عن أبي، أُلقي إلى نافورة الموت قروشي الأخيرة، أخيط أزرارَ معطفه الزيتيّ إلى الأثلام التي رتَّبتُمِ البذورَ في وُحُولها، منضودةً على شكل كلمات، ثم نمتْ وأزهرت حين أمطرتْ ضوءاً دافئاً كالندم، وسال دمٌ آخر على راحةِ الأرض. سمقتِ العكاكيز كشجر الحور فسقَفْنا بها مأوانا، وقفزْنا فوق جداولَ كانت عروقَنا لنسبحَ في سمائنا الأولى. سمّدنا لُغتَنا ببقايانا. استحالتِ الجبالُ رؤوساً أينعتْ تحت قبضاتِ السماء، والمنعطفاتُ خدوداً سِلْنا عليها كجليدٍ ذائب، وحيث سقطَ كلُّ مَنِ اختفى سارعتْ إلى الظهور زهرةٌ لا يطالها أحد، أو لمعَ عودُ ثقاب مشتعل سرعانَ ما يطبق عليه تلميذٌ فمَه ليطفئ الشعلة- مستعجلاً التمرينَ على نسيان الخوف.

سنتذكّرُ طويلاً كم لبثنا قبل هذا الحصاد. سيزورُ كلٌّ منا قبرَه، على كتفهِ سوط، وخلف ظهره منجلٌ أو سكّين. لعبةً كان الزمنُ. ودَّعنا أسرَّتنا التي حطّمتها أحلامُنا. وهَبَنا المُقامِرون قمراً تفتّتَ بين أصابعنا. وهبتنا الجرذانُ عيونها نجوماً. أوقدَ الجوعُ شموسَه وراء جباهنا. رفرفتْ كتبٌ لم نقرأها وحطّتْ على قروحنا. نزَّ من الضمادات صمتٌ كثير. لم ينبسْ أحدٌ بحرف. النقاط التي اختتمنا بها السطور قفزتْ نحو الكلمات وتبعثرتْ فوقها وحوّرتْ كلَّ المعاني.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

The End Of Days

الانجليزية

      for Elena Lydia Scipioni

A snake with honey-coloured eyes survived and told what had happened :

In our burning fields, Yesterday drew me with the spittle of its mouth on a charred wall, like a blackboard in front of frightened pupils. Thus you saw in me the image of my father, throwing my last pennies into the fountain of death, then sewing the buttons of his oil-green coat in the furrows of mud where you had planted seeds, arranged in the form of words, and they grew and blossomed when light rained down warm as remorse, and again blood was made to flow on the palms of the earth. Canes grew high as poplars and we broke them to roof our refuge, and we jumped over our vein-streams to swim in our first sky. We fertilised our language with our debris. Mountains had become ripe heads for the fists of the sky & the slopes cheeks we ran down like melted ice, and at every point where the disappeared had fallen an unattainable flower sprang up, or a burning matchstick flickered before a schoolboy could close his mouth over it to put out the flame – as he hurries to do his homework on forgetting fear.

We will remember for a long time how we were before this harvest. Each of us will visit his own grave, carrying a whip on his shoulder, or behind his back a sickle or a knife. Time was a game. We bade farewell to our beds that had been smashed by our dreams. Gamblers offered us a moon that crumbled to dust at the touch of our fingers. Rats offered us their eyes as stars. Hunger blazed its suns behind our foreheads. Books we hadn’t read flittered down and landed on our ulcers. Great silences seeped through our bandages. No one uttered a word. The dots and signs with which we ended our lines leapt towards the words scattered about them, and all meanings changed. 

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
Published in The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem: From Baudelaire to Anne Carson, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, 2018

شجرةٌ لا أعرف اسمها

العربية | Golan Haji


لا جرس يرنُّ ولا أحد يأتي.
حيث حبستُ نفسي، وضيّعتُ المفتاح،
     كم مِن الأيام انقضى
       وما راسلني أحدٌ ولا هاتفني.
        ما راسلتُ ولا هاتفتُ أحداً.
أنا الذي عذّبتْهُ الكلمات وضمّدتْه وأذْبَلتْه،
أكلّمكِ يا شجرةً لا أعرفُ اسمها:
    سيّانِ جوعي وعطشي
       ما دمتُ أرضعُ حنانَ صمتك.

جئتُكِ وحدي لأجلس تحت واسعِ رحمتك؛
صغيرٌ أنا: تلدني زهرةٌ في بياض النسيان،
           وتكفّنني زهرةٌ وتشيّعني النسمة؛
لا ألاطفُ الفتيات ولا يلاطفنني،
ومثلُك لا أعرفُ اسمي.
فقيرةٌ كلماتي،
      تعلو وتهبط كفُواق رضيع
       في ضبابِ لغة أخرى،
وجلدي يكلّمك:
    بألف فمٍ صغير يشربُ معك ضوءَ الشمس-
شمسَ أجدادي الذين شابوا
     في طفولاتهم لمّا عبَروا الرعب
       وأفزعهم انتقامُ الثعابين الجريحة؛
 ما درى أحدٌ كم سيطولُ الفزع
              وإلى متى ستسبحُ الثعابينُ في مياهِ المنامات
    حتى رقَّ القساة، وابيضّتِ الغُرَرُ والأفواد.

شاخَ جدّي في شبابه؛
شلّته طلقةٌ طائشة فداووه بالألم:
      ساكناً، عارياً،
     وسّدوه بساطاً من شعرِ الماعز،
      أقفلوا البابَ والشبّاكين على ترابِ غرفته
          وأفلتوا الدبابير؛
في بيته، أبيضَ تحت شمس نيسان،
      انتظر رجوعَ الخطواتِ إلى قدميه.

مثله، مثلك، يطولُ انتظاري،
والوقتُ الميت أخصبُ ساعاتي:
    تُراهم سعداء المسنُّون في هذه البلاد التي جئتُها ضيفاً؟
السعادةُ هنا بيضاء كالشيخوخة؛
أرى الخائفين يغضبون ويصرخون
    ووراء حدقتيّ الداكنتين
        إلهان يذبحان سجيناً نائماً
يا شجرةً لا أعرف اسمها:
    كلُّ زهرةٍ ترتجفُ أمَلٌ أتى،   
على تاجِ شَيبي اسّاقطتْ تويجاتك،
     ولفرط ما انتظرتُ ابيضّتْ جذوري
             كشعرِ أمي في سوادِ السنين؛
صامتاً أكلّمُك-
أنا مَن صار خوفهُ حزناً،
وأنتِ مَن روَّعكِ الجمال فأزهرتِ.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

A Tree Whose Name I Don’t Know

الانجليزية

No bell rings & no-one comes.
How many days have passed
            Without message or phone call
                        Where I locked myself in & lost the key.
                                   And I too sent no message & phoned no-one.
I who am tormented, bandaged & wilted by words
I talk to you, tree whose name I don’t know :          
            neither my hunger nor my thirst matter
                        since I’ve sucked on the tenderness of your silence.

Alone I’ve come to you, to sit beneath your vast mercy;
I am small : a blossom begets me in white oblivion,
                        a blossom shrouds me, the breeze follows my funeral;
I don’t caress girls nor do they caress me,
And like you I don’t know my name.
Poor are my words –
            that rise & fall like the hiccups of a babe-in-arms –
                        in the haze of another language,
And my skin talks to you :
With a thousand small mouths it drinks sunlight with you –
            The sun of my ancestors whose hair turned white
                        In their childhoods when they panicked, 
                                   Terrified by the revenge of wounded serpents; 
Nobody knew how long the horror would last
            Or until when the serpents would keep swimming in the waters of dream
Until the harsh became tender and the hair at their temples
whitened.

My grandfather aged in his youth;
Paralysed by a stray bullet, treatable only by pain :
            They laid him down on a rug of goat’s hair,
                        Motionless & naked,
            They locked the door & windows to his clay chamber
                        & released the wasps;
In his house, white beneath the April sun,
            He waited for quickening pace to return to his feet.

Like him, like you, my waiting has been for too long –
Dead hours are my most fertile : 
Are they happy, the old people of this country I came to
as a guest ?
Happiness here is as white as old age;
I see the fearful – infuriated & shouting – 
            And behind my dark eyes 
                        Two gods are slaying a sleeping prisoner.
O tree whose name I don’t know :
            Each trembling blossom is hope arrived,
            Your petals have fallen on the crown of my white hair,
            And for this long waiting my roots have turned white
                        Like my mother’s hair in the dark years; 
Silently I talk to you –
            I whose fear has become sadness
            And you who beauty startled into blossom.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Modern Poetry in Translation, 2017

هِلال

العربية | Golan Haji


رقّقتَ ألمك.

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

علّمك المهرّبون كيف تضربهُ رويداً رويداً
في الليل بمطارقِ اللصوص
وتُخفي بصماتِك عنه أمام الآخرين

 بالصمتِ رقَّقتَه، بالمشي الطويل
حتى شفَّ وقسا
كظفرٍ مقصوص توارى في بِساطِ الزمن

وحين عثرتَ عليه
كان قمراً أنْحَلَهُ الحبّ
علّقتَهُ إلى سماءِ روحك
وسهرْتَ وحدك منتظراً آذانَ العيد.

© Golan Haji
Audio production: Haus für Poesie, 2019

Crescent

الانجليزية

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 

Smugglers taught you how to strike it in the quiet 
            In the night with the hammers of thieves
                        to conceal your fingers’ marks in front of others

You thinned it with silence, with long walks
Until it became transparent and hard  
Like a cut nail disappeared in the carpet of time

And when you found it
It had become a moon eaten away by love
And you hung it in the sky of your soul

And stayed awake all alone, waiting for the azhan of Eid.

Translated from Arabic by Golan Haji & Stephen Watts
published in Modern Poetry in Translation, 2017

Paladij

السلوفانية | Gašper Torkar

Skoraj bi pozabil na sveto nesmiselnost sveta.
Na to, kje se začne in kje konča. Kakor pesem.
Reči hočeš: bili smo tam, ampak nismo imeli

nadzora nad svojimi glagoli, prihajali in odhajali
so naravno. Kakor tiste res dobre pesmi.
Skoraj bi pozabil na začetek, na peskovnik

in njegov konec. Prepričan sem bil,
da se lahko ustavim in da bo steklo vzdržalo
moje malo telo. Zdaj vem: tu se odpirajo razpoke

še za takrat. Svet ni pozabljen; nazaj prihajam
z mirnim, počasnim korakom, kakor da vsa nežnost,
kar je premorem, nakazuje vrhunec moje moči

in se mi po telesu pretaka čista koncentracija.
Pesem je prostor zbranosti. Kosila so končana,
kave in čaji popiti, poglavje je prebrano.

Čas za nove premike v nove prostore.
Treba se bo usesti na klop
in odpisati stran svoje življenje

na digitalni listek papirja. Kako se nasloviti?
Kot pesmi; začnejo se iz nič in končajo z nami.

© Gašper Torkar
from: Podaljšano bivanje
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-83-0
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Palladium

الانجليزية

I'd almost forgotten the sacred nonsenseof the world. 
Where it begins and where it ends. As a poem does.
You want to say : we were there, but we didn't have

control over our verbs, they came and went
so naturally. As with really good poems. 
I'd almost forget the beginning, the sand pit

and where it ends. I was convinced that I could stop
and that the glass would hold up under my small body.
Now I know : there the cracks are opening & also for 

the time back then. The world's not forgotten; I'm coming 
back with a slow, calm step, as though all the gentleness
I can muster gestures towards the peak of my powers 

while pure concentration courses through my body.
The poem is such a space of poise. Lunch is 
done with, and teas drunk, the chapter read. 

Time for new shifts to newspaces.
We'll have to sit on the bench
and send a page a life off 

on the digital sheet. But adress ourselves how ?
Like poems; they start from nothing & end with us. 

Translated by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Še

السلوفانية | Gašper Torkar

za K., 1. januar 2013, 04.54

The government is corrupt
and we're on so many drugs with the radio on
and the curtain is drawn.
GY!BE, The Dead Flag Blues

Morda bi se zgolj rad spomnil na poletne dneve,
ko je drevo zaspalo naslonjeno na moj hrbet,
ali tiste, ko sem si z milom in dlanmi poskušal sprati
stran svoj obraz kot izgovor, da je danes preteklost

in da bo jutri drugačen dan, ponovno potreben oživljanja
in jokanja med dvema razbitima avtomobiloma.
Vklopi radio, da slišimo, kaj se je zgodilo med našimi očmi,
pred katere se je včasih v temni kinodvorani,

zazibal nasmejan obraz Willema Dafoeja.
Bruhanje portugalske zastave na robu ceste
te je prisililo, da razmišljaš o svoji smrti in starših,
ki sploh ne vedo, da si postrgal ves prah z mize

in si ga zatlačil v vse sluznice svojega telesa.
Bili smo znanstveno-mistični, biokemijski,
pesniškofizični, drug do drugega in do sebe.
Plesali smo dlje. Se skrivali po kabinah stranišč.

Morda se takrat (zdaj) začne upanje
na vsa možna preživetja apokalipse,
ki bi iz teh dni naredila zgolj vročične sanje,
preden se svet zlomi kot piškot z marmeladno sredico.

Vedno umirajo drugi. Drugi v nas samih.
In mi se zaljubljamo v dneve, ki smo jih unovčili
s prihodom nazaj do svoje postelje. Šele takrat
se lahko zlomimo in zbolimo in jokamo kot v filmih,

kajti edino, kar smo prepoznali v teh dnevih,
je nastajajoči spomin, ki bo vztrajal; sijal in udarjal.
Imeli smo srečo, da smo bili rojeni v to pozno obdobje
(tako kot vsi pred nami), omogoča nam dostop

do žalosti, kakršne drugi niso poznali.
Ampak sklonjenemu skozi deževno okno se ti ne zdi,
da si v puščavi, razen če je to ta tema na drugi strani
ulice. Smo v enaindvajsetem stoletju in nihče zares ne ve,

kaj to pomeni. New York je brez elektrike in pod vodo.
Vsi odhajajo v tujino in zapravili smo druge priložnosti.
Še vedno ne vemo, od kod so te misli prišle, ko dežuje
in so mesta napolnjena z ljudmi, ki vedo, da bo svet

v njihovih dlaneh trajal samo do konca ranljivosti
in prikritega začudenja in samo do konca noči.
Ko sem lahko dihal globoko in se sprehodil:
mimo dreves, trgov in vodnjakov, mimo grafitov:

tetovaže na koži mesta, ki nam vedno znova povejo
zgodbo, ki naju včasih, ampak najpogosteje ne, vsebuje.
Našli smo čas in našli smo kožo ob bledi svetlobi
in lase, ki so daljši od naših, in vse spolne organe

in kri in skrb in dlake in ranjene živali in strah
in nedolžnost in iskanje in glasbo in drug drugega
in privide med svetom in nami. Vse to položeno
v darilo, ki ga od zunaj ne bi nikoli prepoznali.

© Gašper Torkar
from: Podaljšano bivanje
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-83-0
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

More

الانجليزية

for K., 1 January 2013, 04:54

The government is corrupt
and we're on so many drugs with the radio on
and the curtain is drawn.
GY!BE, The Dead Flag Blues

Perhaps I would only want to remember summer days
when the tree fell asleep, leaning against my back,
or those hours when with soap in my palms I'd try to
wash away my face as an excuse that the day is done 

and that tomorrow it's all going to be different again,
in need of renewal and tears between two wrecked cars.
Turn on the radio so we can hear what happened between our eyes, 
in front of which occasionally in the darkened cinema hall,

the beaming face of Willem Dafoe came swaying in.
The vomitting of the Portuguese flag on the road's edge
forced you to think about your own death and parents
who don't even know you scraped all the dust off the table

and shoved it into all the mucus membranes of your body.
We were scientifically-mystical, biochemical, poetico-
physical, to each other and also to ourselves.
We danced longer. And hid outin the latrines.  

Perhaps it is then (now) that hope starts
for all possible survivals of the apocalypse
that would make of these days merely feverish dreams,
before the world breaks like the jam centre of a biscuit.
 
It is always others who die. The others in ourselves.
While we are falling in love with days we cashed in
with the return to our bed. Only then are we
allowed to break down and fall ill and cry like in films

because the only thing we recognized in these days
is the emerging memory that will endure, glow and hit you.
We were lucky to be born into this later period
(like everyone before us), it gives us entry to 

a sadness that others were unfamiliar with. But leaning
through the rainy window you don't have the impression you
are in the desert, unless that is its darkness on the other side of
the street. We're in the twenty-first century & no one really knows

what that means. New York is without electricity & under water.
Everyone is leaving for abroad & we've squandered other possibilities.
Still we don't know from where such thoughts come, when it rains
and the cities are filled with people who know that the world 

in their hands will only last until the end of vulnerability
and covert amazement and only till the end of the night.
When I was able to breathe deeply and go for a walk:
past the trees, market square and fountains, past the graffiti : 

tatoos on the skin of the town telling us every time anew
a story that sometimes, but more often not, contains the two of us.
We have found the time and found the skin by the pale light
and hair longer than ours, and all the sexual organs

and blood and worries and hair and wounded animals and fear
and innocence and searching and music and each other
and apparitions between the world and ourselves. All this laid
into a gift that we'd never recognize from the outside. 

Translated by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Pisanje do samote

السلوفانية | Gašper Torkar

Moral bi odkriti poezijo pri tridesetih,
imeti svojega prvega otroka s svojo drugo ženo,
tretjič bankrotirati, poskusiti koga uničiti,
da bi vedel, kaj zamujam, ko sem sam.
Ne pozabi, za kaj se boriš; za tišino,
ki jo drugim dovoliš prekiniti.
Za zaupanje, da jih lahko slišiš reči:
Zdaj si se nam odprl, kajne? Govoril si
in poslušali smo te. Poslušali smo te
in pomembno je bilo in to si si zaslužil
po letih molka, po letih poslušanja
našega kričanja, kamor se bomo vrnili
lahkotno kot spomladanski sprehod,
ampak tebe bodo vse te besede bolele
kot molk na koncu Diplomiranca.
Kot perverzno zanimanje za trpljenje.
Ko sem tiho, ne skrivam ničesar.
Ko sem tiho, se popolnoma, do konca razgaljam.
Ničesar nimam več, niti svojih srečnih vžigalic,
niti naveličanosti nad to novo melodijo,
niti seznama dvanajstih korakov anonimnih alkoholikov:
4.) naredili bomo temeljito in neustrašno inventuro
našega moralnega stanja. Nisem se pripravljen
predati našemu skritemu upanju,
da smo v resnici čisto v redu. Upam,
da smo umrljivi, da bo smrt prišla čim prej
in brez diskriminacije. Ne, nisem hotel
tega reči, bil sem jezen in zdaj obžalujem.
Da si bomo priznali vse dneve v svojem življenju,
ko smo totalno, na polni črti zajebali, tudi danes.
Ampak zdaj je zunaj že tema in spet sem pisal
do zavesti. Nekdo je prišel in odpeljal ven psa
in v hiši sem spet sam, tih in pomirjen,
kot kadilec po cigareti, kot po koncu pesmi.

© Gašper Torkar
from: Podaljšano bivanje
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-83-0
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Writing Unto Solitude

الانجليزية

I would've had to discover poetry by age thirty,
have had my first child with my second wife,
gone bankrupt a third time, tried to ruin someone,
to know what I was missing out on when alone.
Don't forget what you are fighting for : that
silence you allow others to break into.
Trust, so you can hear them say :
Now you've opened up to us, right ? You spoke
and we listened to you. We listened to you
and it was important and you deserved this
after years of silence, after years of listening
to our screaming, which we'll turn back to 
as jauntily as to a walk in spring time, 
while all these words will pain you like
the stillness at the end of The Graduate.
Or a perverse interest in suffering.
When I am quiet, I hide nothing. 
When I am quiet, I reveal myself to the core.
I have nothing left, not even my lucky matches,
not even feeling jaded by a new melody,
or the twelve-steps list of anonymous alchoholics :
4.) we will undertake a thorough and fearless inventory
of our moral state of being.
I'm not prepared 
to surrender myself to the hidden hope
that in fact we are perfectly fine. I hope 
we are mortal, that death comes as soon as it can
and without discrimination. No, that's not what
I wanted to say, I was angry & sorry to be so.
That in all the days of our life we would admit
to ourselves whenever we totally fucked up, today too.
But now it's already dark outside & once more I've written
myself to white-out. Somebody came & walked the dog
so I'm alone in the house again, feeling quiet and calm
like a smoker after a cigarette, like after the end
of the poem. 

Translated by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Vrt

السلوفانية | Jure Jakob

Z ozirom na vse, kar vsak dan vidim,
je koristno reči
karkoli.

Danes dežuje in solata raste,
dan ni enak dnevu
in kaj bo šele jutri.

Ne bo šlo, si včasih rečem.
Mogoče je tako leto,
ampak zemlja seže globlje

in nebo vedno nekaj podari.
Tako pomembno je vse
in nenehno se spreminja

in to skeli kot lakota,
kot sočne koprive ob robu grede,
ki sem jih posekal s srpom.

Z ozirom na razkošno predstavo,
stalen praznik semen in plodov,
delam malo.

To pomeni tisto,
kar je treba,
da ne pozabim glavnega.

Ko bomo šli od tod,
bomo vzeli
vrt s sabo.

© Jure Jakob
from: Delci dela
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-84-7
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Garden

الانجليزية

Given what I see every day
it helps to say
anything  

Today it's raining and the salad's growing,
the day resembles no other
and what will tomorrow be like. 

It won't work, I find myself saying.
Maybe it's just one of those years
but the earth goes deeper

and the sky always brings some gift.  
So important it all is
and constantly changing

and this hurts like hunger
like fleshy stinging nettles at the edge of an allotment
which I cut down with a scythe. 

Given the lavish performance,
the bounteous holiday of seeds and fruits,
I don't do much work. 

That means I do
what needs to be done
so as not to forget what's vital.                       

When we go from here
we'll take
the garden with us. 

Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Mlada vrana

السلوفانية | Jure Jakob

Prišla je mlada vrana.
Sedi v črnem pekaču za torto,
ki sem ga pustil na vrtni klopci,

da ne bi pozabil nabrati
bezgovih cvetov.
Pekač je poln

mlade vrane,
ki odpira kljun
in predirljivo vpije.

Potem skoči na tla,
nerodno zataca po vrtu
in se vrne.

Bezgov grm diši
do sem,
ona pa hoče drugam.

Ne zna še leteti.
Pekač odnesem v kuhinjo
in vse povem.

Zvečer sedimo za mizo.
Pojemo ocvrti bezeg,
od zunaj se sliši 

šumenje vetra.
Spet grem zadnji
v posteljo.

Takoj ko zaprem oči,
zagledam vrano.
Svet je mlad.

Potem se ne spomnim več.

© Jure Jakob
from: Delci dela
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-84-7
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Young crow

الانجليزية

A young crow came.
It's sitting in a black baking tray
I left out on the garden bench

so as not to forget
the elderflower blossoms.
The baking tray is full of 

young crow
beak opened
screaming searingly. 

Then it leaps to the ground,
makes an awkward totter round the garden
and returns. 

The elderflower bush smells good
all the way back to here,
but she wants to be somewhere else. 

She doesn't yet know how to fly.
I take the baking tray into the kitchen
and tell the whole story. 

In the evening we sit at the table.
We've done eating the fried elderflower, 
from outside the sound of

the wind's rustling.
Again I'm the last one
to bed. 

The minute I close my eyes
I see the crow.
The world is young.  

And then it all goes blank.

Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Pomlad

السلوفانية | Jure Jakob

Jutra sledijo jutrom, dnevi jih ponavljajo,
kot da se želijo spremeniti v eno samo jutro.
Cesta na vogalu pri igrišču iz sveže sence
zavije naravnost pred sonce.
To se vsako jutro zgodi malo bolj zgodaj,
kmalu, mogoče že jutri, bo prezgodaj celo
za cesto, zbudila se bo zasačena v svetlobi.

Zjutraj se splača dan začeti.
Preživeti in prespati temo, v sanje
orokavičeni smo predrsali ledene steze.
Odpreti okna, prevetriti sobo. V jutru
se hladen zrak z vsemi štirimi vpne
med tla in strop in drži cel dan pokonci.
Bela češnja, zadnji zvončki, na dvorišču nova žoga.

Nobene narave ni, ki je jutro ne bi našlo.
Nič ni nenaravnega. Delo teče od jutra
do jutra, poštar vadi pot od naslova do naslova,
dokler zlagoma ne sprazni zlato žareče torbe
in počije ob škarpi sadovnjaka. Čebela ga ne opazi.
Otroci iz vrtca na sprehodu obkrožijo parkirano kolo
kot posrečena napoved jutrišnjega jutra.

Na gibki vrvici, napeti od zgodnjega jutra,
visi perilo, nogavice hodijo po vetru, v majavih
hlačah se približuje poldan, skoraj bi zgrmel
v grm forzicije. Redka poznavalka jutra,
nevidna kukavica, nastavlja jajca in zapoje
z nasprotnega drevesa. Odmev je droben hip,
ki je minil od jutra, vrnjen z neopaženo zamudo.

Vrzi žogo proti meni. Zalučal ti jo bom nazaj.
Nič hudega, če bo ušla na cesto. Splača se poskusiti.
V temi prižgana češnja trosi cvetje vse do jutra,
v zgodnji svetlobi žoga leži ob škarpi in izgleda
kakor jajce. Zraven je parkiran hladen zrak.
Ko se vračajo s sončnega sprehoda, jo najde eden
izmed otrok. Odnese jo na igrišče, vsi mu sledijo:

nikoli ni prezgodaj za ponovitev vaje.

© Jure Jakob
from: Delci dela
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2013
ISBN: 978-961-6717-84-7
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Spring

الانجليزية

Mornings follow mornings, days repeat them
as though they want to merge into one vast morning.
The corner road by the playground turns from fresh shade
and pulls up directly in front of the sun.
Each morning this happens a little bit earlier,
soon, perhaps by tomorrow, it will be too early even
for the road & it'll wake caught in sunlight.  

It's worth starting the day early.
Wearing a glove of dreams we skated across
icy tracks to live & sleep through the darkness. 
To open the windows & air the room. In the morning
cold air positions itself on all fours between
the floor and the ceiling & holds the entire day upright.
White cherry tree, last snowdrops, new ball in the courtyard. 

There's no nature mornings can't find.
Nothing is unnatural. Work flows from one morning
to the next, the postman rehearses his way address by address,
until gradually he empties the gold-blazing bag
and rests by the low wall of the fruit orchard. The bee doesn't notice him.
Children from the kindergarten, on their walk, make a ring round the parked bike
like a delightful forecast for the next day morning. 

On flexible string, taut from the early morning
washing hangs, socks walking in the wind, tottering
trousers approached by noon falling almost
into a forsythia bush. That rare connoisseur of morning,
the invisible cuckoo, lays out trap eggs and sings
from the tree opposite. The echo is a fleck of time
that passed from morning, and came back on a moment's delay. 

Throw the ball toward me. I'll chuck it back.
No matter if it runs out onto the road. It's worth the try.
The cherry lit in the darkness sheds blossom all the way to daylight,
and in the morning white the ball lies by the edge-wall and looks
like an egg. Next to it cold air is parked.
Returning from the sunny walk, one of the children
finds it & carries it to the playground & everyone follows : 

It's never too early to repeat the exercise. 

Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

Daljnovod

السلوفانية | Jure Jakob

Poševen sneg, nedelja, odprta v nebo.
Igra vode in mraza se odvija
v rednih, fantastičnih nadaljevanjih.
Tri postave sekajo neskidan pločnik
kot privid.
Sedim za mizo ob oknu, vstavljenem
v debel severni zid.
Otrok spi in z dihanjem divja po sobi,
kot da se bode s snežnim metežem.
Dve misli se zapodita v spolzek klanec.
Na vrhu počijeta, s hrbta snameta sanke
in se usedeta.
Glej, mama nama maha.
Glej, tam.
Sanke drvijo čez belo čistino
kot nore,
piš vetra in pršec snega si podajata
divje zagledani otroški obraz,
nagnjen
čez zamišljeni rob.
Potem zakašlja, zajavka.
Sedim in sledim vsemu temu
kot buden pes,
na preži pod visokim daljnovodom
jem nedeljski sneg.

© Jure Jakob
from: Delci dela
Ljubljana: LUD Literatura, 2012
ISBN: 978-961-6717-84-7
Audio production: LUD Literatura, 2014

Pylons

الانجليزية

Pylons   

Slanting snow, Sunday open to the sky.
The play of water and cold unfolds
in even, fantastical sequels.
Three figures cut through cluttered pavement
like apparitions. 
I'm seated at the table by the window that's
planted into the thick northern wall.
The child's asleep with breath zooming  
round the room, fisty-fighting the snowstorm. 
Two thoughts veer headlong on the slippery slope.
They come to a stop at the top, take sledges
from their backs and sit down.
Look, mother 's waving at us.
Look, there.
The sledges go rushing across the white clearing
like crazy,
Gusts of wind and fine snow, back & forthing
a starkly bewildered child's face,
leaning
across the imagined edge.
Then a cough, a moan.
I sit and follow all this
like a vigilant dog, 
on guard under the tall pylon
& eat Sunday snow. 

Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar and Stephen Watts

na drugi strani

السلوفانية | Ana Pepelnik

se včasih pojavi ladja kjer noben
ne izgleda sumljiv in vsi so normalni.
no mogoče malo prestrašeni.

tam je vedno nek čuden boj za obstanek
v jatah morskih psov in sladkem jezeru
pod njo. nikoli ne vem zakaj vedno
vsi poskačejo med valove
mene pa pustijo na palubi
z morskimi zvezdami v rokah.
podarim jih samomorilskemu kuharju
ki posnema poznega Elvisa preden skoči
malo zaostal in malo za ostalimi
kasneje po kosilu isti morski psi
pojejo hey that's no way
to say goodbye
in bruhajo
svetlobo s postaje Saint-Lazare

ampak čudno je to da na tej ladji nikoli
ne znorim in ne razmišljam o bistvu
zmernosti. samo sprejmem da obstajajo
nadarjeni morski psi in kuharji brez posluha.

Audio production: Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, 2010

On the Other Side

الانجليزية

sometimes a ship appears where nobody
looks suspicious and everyone is normal.
well maybe a little bit frightened

there is always some weird life struggle
among schools of sharks below deck  
and sweet lakes. i never know why every-
one always jumps into the waves
leaving me on deck
with starfish in my hands.
i give them as presents to the suicidal chef
who likes to imitate late Elvis before
jumping backwards and a little retarded.
later after lunch the same sharks
sing 'hey that's no way
to say goodbye' while sicking up
the light from Saint-Lazare

but the wierdest thing is i never go
crazy on this ship and i don't keep worrying
at my sanity. i just accept that there are
talented sharks and tone-deaf chefs.

co-translated by the author and Stephen Watts