Mohamed Elramady, inspired by Mahmoud Darwish’s Poem The Mural: Translated by Nizar Sartawi

Mohamad ELRAMDY

BIO

Mohamed Elramady is an Egyptian poet who lives in Alexandria. He has published five collections of poems: أتَوضأُ بِنُورِ عَينيكِ [I Wash in the Light of Your Eyes], 2011; العشق بعد المداولة [Love after Deliberation], 2010; رَمَادِيَّاتٌ وأَلْوَانٌ أُخْرَىٰ عَام [Ramadyat and Other Colors], 2009; حِينَ يَتَكَلَّمُ النَّبْضُ [When the Pulse Speaks], 2009; and أَغَانِي عَابِرِ سَبِيلٍ [Songs of a Wayfarer], 2006. In 2013, a sixth collection has been submitted for publication, ِدَارِيَّةُ العِشْقِ والأَلَم, “The Mural of Passion and Pain” accompanied by the English translation, and the Italian translation “Il Murale di Passione e dolore”, ready for publication. Mohamed Elramady’s poems have been translated to Italian, English, Turkish, French, Indonesian, German, and Hindi and he has had readings in Egypt and Lebanon and been published in Bahrain and Iraq. Mohamed Elramady is a member of the Lebanese Organization of Permanent Cultural Dialogue, whose mission it is to spread the culture of dialogue and tolerance.

Nizar Sartawi

BIO

Nizar Sartawi is a poet, translator and educator. He was born in Sarta, Palestine, in 1951. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Jordan, Amman, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota. Sartawi is a member of the Jordanian Writers Association and General Union of Arab Writers. He has participated in poetry readings and festivals in Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco. His first poetry collection, Between Two Eras, was published in Beirut, Lebanon in 2011. His translations include: The Prayers of the Nightingale (2013), poems by Indian poet Sarojini Naidu; Fragments of the Moon (2013), poems by Italian poet Mario Rigli; The Souls Dances in its Cradle (2015), poems by Danish poet Niels Hav; all three translated into Arabic; and Contemporary Jordanian Poets, Volume I (2013); The Eyes of the Wind (2015), poems by Tunisian poet Fadhila Masaai; both translated into English. Sartawi is currently working on a translation project, Arab Contemporary Poets Series. His poems and translations have been anthologized and published in books, journals, and newspapers in Arab countries, the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, and India.

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Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) has been a widely recognized Palestinian poet. He used his words to try to draw attention to the Palestinian cause and also delivered harsh criticism of the infighting among Palestinian factions. During a reading in 2007, Mr. Darwish denounced the violence between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza as “a public suicide attempt in the streets.” He said the two warring factions had made the possibility far more unlikely of establishing a Palestinian state.

As a poet of conscience, Mr. Darwish is famous throughout the Middle East and is in fact regarded as the Palestinian national poet. He is said to have given voice to the Palestinian dream of statehood, crafted her 1988 declaration of independence, and helped to forge a Palestinian national identity. “He started out as a poet of resistance and then became a poet of conscience,” said a Palestinian lawmaker. In 2000, Mr. Darwish published his most important book, Jidariyya (The Mural), spurred on by his life-threatening surgery, which is available in an English translation by Rema Hammami and John Berger [London, Verso, 2009]. His poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages and he has won many international prizes.

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مِنْ وَحْيِ جِدَارِيَّةِ الشَّاعِرِ الكَبِيرِ مَحْمُود دَرْوِيش

لَسْتُ مِثْلَكَ “يَا دَرْوِيشُ”
فَقَدْ كُنْتُ أَحْلُمُ
وَغَزَلْتُ خُيُوطَ حُلْمِي بِحَبَّاتِ عَرَقِي المُتَصَبِّبِ فَوْقَ الجَبِينِ
وَكَأَنَّهُ النَّصِيبُ
أَلَمْ يَقُولُوا دَوْمًا أَنَّ النَّصِيبَ كَلِمَةٌ “مَكْتُوبَةٌ عَلَى الجَبِينِ”؟..

لَسْتُ مِثْلَكَ يَا “دَرْوِيشُ” فَلَمْ أُلْقِ بِنَفْسِي جَانِبًا ..
لَكِنِّي طِرْتُ بَيْنَ مَمَرَّاتِ الزَّمَنِ حَتَّى رَأَيْتُ رُوحِي تَتَجَدَّدُ كُلَّمَا انْتَهَى العُمْرُ
فَلَمْ أَصِلْ إِلَى الفُلْكِ الأَخِيرِ رَغْمَ وُصُولِى أَكْثَرَ مِنْ مَرَّةٍ
وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَنْ أَنَا
وَلَا جَاوَبَنِى أَحَدٌ رَغْمَ أَنِّي كُنْتُ هُنَاكَ فِي قَلْبِهَا
فَلَمْ أَكُنْ وَحِيدًا فِي البَيَاضِ…

فِي قَلْبِهَا يَا صَدِيقِي…
كُلُّ مُفْرَدَاتِ اللُّغَةِ تَقِفُ مُنْدَهِشَةً
لَا يَجْرُؤُ أَحَدٌ عَلَى كِتَابَتِهَا
وَكَيْفَ نَكْتُبُ مَا لَا نَسْتَطِيعُ تَفْسِيَرهُ أَوْ وَصْفَهُ…

قَالَتْ: اُكْتُبْ… وَأَلَحَّتْ…
اُكْتُبْ أَيَّ شَيْءٍ
قُلْتُ: أَكْتُبُ أَيَّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا عَنْ شَيْءٍ بِلَا مَعْنًى
لَا يَصِلُ بِي إِلَى مَحَطَّاتِ الصَّبْرِ
كَمْ نَحْتَاجُ إِلَى الصَّبْرِ يَا صَدِيقِي فِي زَمَنٍ لَمْ يَصْبِرْ عَلَيْنَا؟
وَأَنْزَلَ الدَّمْعَ الحَقِيقِيَّ مِنَ المُقَلِ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِنَ الزَّمَنِ؟
هَلْ غَفَلَ عَنَّا الزَّمَنُ حَقًّا؟
أَمْ أَنَّ غَفْلَةَ الزَّمَنِ شَيْءٌ مِنِ اخْتِرَاعِنَا نَحْنُ؟…

أَنَا يَا “دَرْوِيشُ” لَمْ أَمُتْ قَبْلَ الآنَ
عَلَى الأَقَلِّ لَا أَذْكُرُ
رُبَّمَا مِتُّ أَلْفَ مَرَّةٍ لَكِنِّي لَا أَذْكُرُ
فَلَا قَبْرَ لِي هُنَاكَ عَلَى مَرْأَى البَصَرِ
وَلَا عَلَى خَرِيطَةِ الأَمَاكِنِ تُوجَدُ عَلَامَةٌ يَتِيمَةٌ تُوحِي بِذَلِكَ لِلْمَارِّينَ فَوْقَ التُّرَابِ
وَلَا كُتِبَ لِي اسْمٌ عَلَى لَوْحَةٍ رُخَامِيِّة وَكَأَنَّ الأَمْرَ ضَرُورِيٌّ
وَلَا زَارَنِي مَلَاكٌ يَسْأَلُنِى مَاذَا فَعَلْتَ ؟
وَلَكِنْ سَأَلَنِي ضَمِيرِي
وَكُنْتُ أَبْتَسِمُ

قَدْ صِرْتَ فِكْرَةً يَا “دَرْوِيشُ”
السَّيْفُ يَحْمِلُهِا إِلَى الأَرْضِ اليَبَابِ
وَكُلُّ كِتَابٍ فِيهِ بَعْضٌ مِنْكَ
وَقَدْ صِرْتَ حِكَايَةً كُبْرَى
يَحْكِيهَا التَّارِيخُ عَنْكَ لِلْأَجْيَالِ
وَاسْمُكَ مَلَأَ العَالَمَ …
نِسْيَانُكَ يَا دَرْوِيشُ أَمْرٌ مُحَالٌ
نِسْيَانِي أَمْرٌ مَفْرُوغٌ مِنْهُ
فَلَمْ أَحْمِلِ السَّيْفَ
وَلَمْ تَكُنْ عِنْدِي فِكْرَةٌ لَهَا دَلَالَتُهَا العَمِيقَةُ
كَيْ تَعِيشَ فِي قُلُوبِ النَّاسِ
لَكِنِّي عِشْتُ الحَيَاةَ كَعَابِرِ سَبِيلٍ
وَمَازِلْتُ أُحَاوِلُ أَلَّا أَكُونَ…
أَهُوَ ضَرْبٌ مِنَ الجُنُونِ أَمْ مُنْتَهَى العَقْلِ؟
أَنْ تَعِيشَ الحَيَاةَ كَعَابِرِ سَبِيلٍ…
مَنْ مِنْكُم يُجِيبُ عَلَى السُّؤَالِ؟

قُلْتَ: سَنَكُونُ يَوْمًا مَا نُرِيدُ
يَالَكَ مِنْ بَاعِثِ الأَمَلِ فِي قُلُوبِ الحَيَارَى الصَّامِتِينَ الصَّارِخِين
أَلَمْ تَبْعَثْ حِوَارَ العَاشِقِينَ مِنَ الرَّمَادِ؟
وَهَل يُبْعَثُ حِوَارُ العَاشِقِينَ مِنَ الرَّمَادِ؟!
إِلَّا فِي قُلُوبِ الشُّعَرَاءِ العِظَامِ
يَا لَكَ مِنْ شَاعِرٍ عَظَيمٍ…

دَعْنِي أَسْأَلُكَ ..
مَا الأُسْطُورَةُ فِي وُقُوعِ الشَّبِيهِ عَلَى الشَّبِيهِ؟
هَذَه لَيْسَتْ أُسْطُورَةً حَقِيقَةً …
“فَشَبِيهُ الشَّبَهِ يَنْجَذِبُ إِلَيْهِ” ..هَكَذَا قَالُوا
إِنَّمَا الأُسْطُورَةُ تَكْمُنُ فِي نُبُوءَةٍ تَتَحَقَّقُ دُونَ عِلْمٍ
وَدُونَ عَرَّافٍ
وَدُونَ خَوْفٍ
أَوْ مِقْيَاسٍ نَسْتَنِدُ عَلَيْهِ
فِي مَاضٍ بَعِيدٍ أَوْ قَرِيبٍ…
فَإِنْ آمَنْتَ بِرُؤْيَتِي
فَأَنَا النُّبُوءَةُ الَّتِي خَلَطَتِ الحَقِيقَةَ بِالخَيَالِ
الحُلْمُ الَّذِي تَعِيشُهُ أَنْتَ دُونَ أَنْ تَدْرِي أَنَّه حُلْمٌ
الكَلَامُ الَّذِي لَمْ يُكْتَبْ بَعْدُ
الُّلغَةُ الَّتِي لَمْ يَخْتَرِعْهَا شَاعِرٌ حَتَّى الآنَ
هَلْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ أَحَدٌ مِنْ قَبْل؟!
مَا لَمْ يَتَحَقَّقْ يَا صَدِيقِي مِنْ قَبْلُ…
هُوَ أُسْطُورَةٌ
وَأَنَا نَسَجْتُهَا دُونَ أَنْ أَدْرِي

الكَفَنُ لَا يُخَاطُ بِخُيُوطٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ يَا صَدِيقِي…
هُوَ قِطْعَةٌ مِنْ قُمَاشٍ
رُبَّمَا كَانَ بَعْضَ قُطْنٍ وَبَعْضَ شَاشٍ…
يَكْفِي لِدَفْنِ جُثَثٍ كَفَنُهَا الحَقِيقِيُّ تُرَابٌ
فَكُلُّ مَيْتٍ حَقِيقَةً يُدْفَنُ
وَلَكِنْ لَيْسَ كُلُّ مَيْتٍ قَدْ مَاتَ…

الحُكَمَاءُ لَمْ يَصِلُوا إِلَى قَلْبِ الحِكْمَةِ وَلَنْ يَصِلُوا
فَالحِكْمَةُ لَا تَحْتَاجُ لِحُكَمَاءَ إِنَّمَا
تَحْتَاجُ إِلَى إِنْسَانِيَّةٍ لَا تَتَوافَرُ فِي كُتُبٍ أَوْ عِلْمٍ
إِنَّ كُلَّ حَكِيمٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ وَصَلَ لَيْسَ بِحَكِيمٍ…
فَكَيْفَ يَصِلُ أَحَدٌ إِلَى العُمْقِ الفَاصِلِ بَالِغِ الدِّقَّةِ
بَيْنَ العَقْلِ والجُنُونِ؟
فَهُنَاكَ يَكْمُنُ السِّرُ…
سِرُّ الكَوْنِ الَّذِي لَمْ وَلَنْ يَعْرِفَهُ أَحَدٌ
وَإِنْ كَانَ هُنَاكَ فِي أَحْشَائِكَ أَنْتَ…
السِّرُّ فِيكَ هُوَ السِّرُّ
فيكَ أنتَ
لِأَنَّكَ وَحْدَكَ أَنْتَ
أَنْتَ الإِنْسَانُ.

الغُرَبَاءُ تَاهُوا فِي الغُرْبَةِ
كَمْ تَاهَ غُرَبَاءُ فِي غُرْبَةٍ؟…
وَمَا ذَلِكَ بِغَرِيبٍ
غَرِيبٌ … غُرْبَةٌ…غُرَبَاءُ..
نَفْسُ الحُرُوفِ وَيَبْقَى المَعْنَى وَاحِدًا
إِنْ لَمْ يَضِلَّ الغَرِيبُ
فَلَيْسَ بِغَرِيبٍ
وَلَضَاعَ جَوْهَرُ الُّلغَةِ فِي غِيَابَاتِ المَتَاهَةِ الأَزَلِيَّةِ
إِنَّ الغَرِيبَ مَنْ يَتُوهُ دَاخِلَهُ فَلَا يَجِدُ نَفْسَهُ
وَلَوْ بَحَثَ عَنْهَا عُمْرًا بِأَكْمَلِهِ…

حُلْمِي…
رَغْمَ أَنِّي كُنْتُ أَحْلُمُ
لَمْ يَكُنْ حُلْمًا. ..
لَكِنَّهُ كَانَ شَيْئًا مُبْهَمًا…
أَخَذَنِي مِنْ يَدِي فَسَكَنْتُ قَلْبَ حُورِيَّةٍ
اِنْتَحَرْتُ عَلَى بَابِ قَلْبِهَا دُونَ أَنْ أَدْرِي
لِدَهْشَتِي…
وَجَدْتُ فِيهِ مَدِينَتِي الفَاضِلَةَ
اِتَّخَذتُهُ وَطَنًا
وَرُحْتُ أَحْمِيهِ مِنْ الغَوْغَاءِ والعَاطِلِينَ الفَاسِدِينَ
وَأَصْحَابِ الخَطَايَا
وَغَسَلْتُ قَلْبَهَا بِمَاءٍ نَقِيٍّ فَأَنْبَتَ وَرَدًا زَاهِيًا
تَحَوَّلَ إِلَى فَرَاشَةٍ تَحُومُ فَوْقِي
فَظَلَلْتُ العُمْرَ سَهَرَانًا أَحْمِيهِ مِنْ طَمَعِ الطَّامِعِينَ
وَأُحِبُّهُ أَكْثَرَ

بِاللهِ عَلَيْكُمْ…
مَنْ يُحَدِّثُنِي عَنْ نَفْسِي غَيْرُ نَفْسِي؟
مَنْ يَسْمَعُنِي غَيْرِي
إِنْ لَمْ أَنْطِقْ والْتَزْمْتُ الصَّمْتَ؟
أَنْتَ؟!…
إِنْ قُلْتَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدْ عَزَفْتَ لِلْكَذِبِ لَحْنًا
وَهَلْ تُعْزَفُ لِلْكَذِبِ أَلْحَانٌ؟!…
إَلَّا فِي قُلُوبِ الْكَاذبين…

قَالَتْ نَمْ فَلَمْ أَنَمْ
أَنَا القَادِمُ مِنَ المَاضِي البَعِيدِ الذَّاهِبِ رُبَّمَا
إِلَى المَجْهُولِ البَعِيدِ…
أُوَاصِلُ غَزْلِي حَتَّى يَنْتَهِي أَمْرِي
أُسَابِقُ الزَّمَنَ وَأَجْرِي
حَتَّى تُودِي طَلْقَةٌ بِالْحَيَاةِ دَاخِلِي فَأَمُوتُ شَهِيدًا
أَوْ أَحْيَا الحَيَاةَ كَامِلَةً
ثُمَّ أَمُوتُ شَهِيدًا
فَلَسْتُ جَبَانًا كَيْ أَمُوتَ فَوْقَ فِرَاشِي
وَلَسْتُ عِرْبِيدًا
فَمَنْ يُحَاسِبُنِي بَعْدَمَا كَادَ العُمْرُ أَنْ يَنْتَهِي؟
مَنْ يُحَاسِبُنِي بَعْدَمَا كَادَ العُمْرُ أَنْ يَنْتَهِي؟
مُجَرَّدُ سُؤَالٍ بَرِيءٍ بَرِيءٍ بَرِيءٍ…
أيُهَا الكِرَامُ
يَا أيُهَا الكِرَامُ
مَا ظَنُّكُم بِرَجُلٍ شَدَّ بِدَايَتَهُ لِنِهَايَتِهِ. ..
ثُمُّ جَلَسَ يَنْتَظِرُ. ..
كَمَا دَوْمًا
كَلِمَةَ القَدَرِ؟!.
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INSPIRED BY MAHMOUD DARWISH’S POEM “THE MURAL”

A poem by Mohamed Elramady

I am not like you Darwish
I was only dreaming
I span the threads of my dream with the drops of my sweat dripping from the forehead
as though it were destiny.
Was it not said that destiny is written on the forehead?

I am not like you Darwish,
I did not throw myself aside
but flew among the paths of time until I saw my soul renewed
every time life came to an end
I have not reached the last apogee yet
though I got there more than once.
I did not know who I was.
Nor did anyone respond to me, though I was there in her heart
for I was not alone in the whiteness.

In her heart my friend
all the letters of the language stand in awe.
No one dares to write them
How could we write what we cannot explain or describe?

She said “Write” and she insisted:
“Just write anything”
I said: “I will write nothing but what allows me to reach the extremes of patience.”
O how we need patience
my friend
in an age that hasn’t been patient with us
that has drawn tears from our eyes through its recklessness!
Has time been really reckless with us?

Can it even become reckless?
Or is the recklessness of time our own invention?

O Darwish,
I have never died before
at least I don’t remember
I might have died a thousand times but I don’t remember.
For there is no grave for me within eye view
Nor is there a single mark on the map of places
indicating a grave to those who travel the land
Nor has my name been written on a marble plate as though it were necessary
Nor has an angel visited me to ask “What have you done?”
But my conscience has asked me that
and I smiled.

You have become an idea
O Darwish,
that a sword carries to the wasteland.
Every book has a part of you
and you have become a tale told by history to generations.
Your name has filled the world.
Forgetting you
O Darwish
is impossible.
Forgetting me is taken for granted
for I have never worn a sword
and I have never had a notion of deep significance
to remain in people’s hearts
I have lived my life as a wayfarer and I am still trying not to be.
Is it typical of an insane man or one of ultimate sensibility
to live as a wayfarer?

Which of you will answer my question?

You said: “One day we will be what we want to be.”
O how you restore hope in the hearts of the silent uncertain
Haven’t you restored the lovers’ dialog from ashes?
And could the lovers’ dialog be restored from ashes
except in the hearts of great poets?

What a great poet you are!

Let me ask you
what is legendary about like falling on like?
This is not a true legend.
“Like attracts like” that is what they say.
Legend though lies in a prophesy that comes true without knowledge or a seer
without the fear or measure on which we rely in the distant or near past.
If you believe in my vision
then I am the prophesy that confused reality with fiction.
The dream you live
not realizing that it is a dream
the words that have not been written yet
the language that no poet has invented until now.
Has anyone done that before me?
What has not been realized before
my friend
is a legend
and I wove it without knowing.

A shroud is never sewn with threads of gold
my friend.
It’s a piece of cloth.
A little cotton and gauze might be
sufficient for burying corpses whose real shroud is the earth.
Anyone who truly dies is buried,
but not everyone who is dead has died.

Wise men have never reached the heart of wisdom and never will.
Wisdom does need wise men but
it needs humanity that is not found in books or knowledge.
Any wise man who says he has arrived
is not a wise man.
How could anyone get to the depth that stands exactly between sensibility and insanity?
Therein lies the secret
the secret of the universe nobody has known or will ever know
though it is there in your depths.
The secret within you is the secret
because only you
you alone are human.

Because you are the human strangers
who have been lost in foreign lands.
How often have strangers been lost in foreign lands?
And is that not strange
strange…foreign lands…strangers…
Similar letters and the meaning remains the same
If the stranger does not stray
he is not a stranger.
And the essence of language would be lost in the darkness of the eternal labyrinth.
A stranger is one who is lost within his inner self and never finds his self
even if he looks for it a whole lifetime.

My dream
though I was dreaming
was not a dream.
It was something obscure
it held my hand and I lived in the heart of a nymph.
I committed suicide at her heart’s door without realizing it.
To my amazement I found in it my ideal city
I made it my homeland and protected it from the mob and corrupt idlers
and sinners.
I washed her heart with pure water and beautiful roses grew therein
that turned into a butterfly hovering above me.
I spent my life awake protecting it from the greedy
and loving it even more.

I ask you by God
Who could talk to me about myself but myself?
Who would hear me other than myself if I remained silent and did not speak?

You?
If you said that
you would be playing a tune of lies
Could tunes of lines be played?

She said “Sleep” but I did not sleep
I come from the distant past and go to the distant future unknown
Maybe,
I will continue weaving until I am finished.
I race with time and run
until a bullet takes life within me and I die the death of a martyr,
or I live life in its entirety
then I die the death of a martyr.
I am not a coward to die in bed
and I am not a libertine.
Who will hold me accountable now that life is at its close?
Who will hold me accountable now that life is at its close?
A mere innocent question innocent innocent.
What do you think of a man who has tied his beginning to his end
then sat and awaited as always
the word of Fate?

*****

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