The following poem by Abdel Aziz al Maqaleh appeared in Issue No. 16 of the Marlboro Review.
Poem 47 of The Book of Sanaa'
The spirit of this city floats
On the water of years.
Do not wake her
Let her moan while her children drown.
Do not light her pale alleys,
For the streets are still wet
With the sweet blood of martyrs
Who died for their homeland,
And turned the pages of life too soon
Let her sleep to forget
Let her sleep to remember
do not scratch with words
The tomb she has erected
for her grief.
Above it moan corpses
Below it they are lost.
Translated from the Arabic by Huda Fakhreddine and Jayson Iwen
Abdel Aziz al Maqaleh was born in 1937 in Yemen. He has many poetry collections, some of which are Ma'rib tatakalam, 1972 (Ma'rib Speaks), Abbjadiyyat al Ruh, 1998 (the Alphabet of the Soul) and Kitab Sana'a, 2000 (The Book of Sana 'a). He has published a number of literary studies such as Qira'a fi Adab at Yemen (A Reading of Yemenite Literature) and Azmat al Qasida at Arabiyya (The Crisis of the Arabic Poem).
Huda Fakhreddine was born in 1981 in Beirut Lebanon. She is a graduate student of English literature at the American University of Beirut, where she also holds a minor in Arabic literature. She has a special interest in modern poetry, Arabic and English, and plans to pursue a degree in Comparative literature. She has worked on several translations of Arabic poetry and prose into English.
Jayson Iwen lives with his wife and three cats in Beirut, Lebanon, where he teaches at the American University of Beirut, and advises the literary and cultural journal Anima (www.animabeirut.com). His own poetry has recently appeared in journals such as Fence, Clackamas Literary Review, Third Coast and Reed Magazine. Jayson also writes regularly for the Emergency Almanac (www.emergencypress.org).
Copyright © Abdel Aziz al Maqaleh