Mohamed Elramady: 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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*Mohamed Elramady’s poems are translated from original Arabic into English by Margaret Saine.
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أَنَا القَصِيدَةُ

أَقِفُ فِي مُنْتَصَفِ الكَوْنِ
أَجْذِبُ الشَّمْسَ لِتُشْرِقَ بِيدِي اليُمْنَى
وَأَمْنَعُهَا أَنْ تَغْرُبَ بِيَدِي اليُسْرَي
لِتَبْقَى قُلُوبُكُمْ مُضَاءَةً بِنُورِ اللهِ
إِلَى الأَبَدِ.
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I’M THE POEM

I am the poem
stationed at the center of the universe
hauling the sun up to rise with my right hand
my left hand preventing the day’s end
so your hearts will shine in the light of God forever
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جِدَارِيَّةُ العِشْقِ والأَلَمِ

لاَ سَبِيلَ لِي إِلَيْهِ
قَدْ سَقَطَ القَمَرُ عَلَى الجَانِبِ الآخَرِ مِنَ النَّهْرِ
يَا لَيْلَةً ظَلْمَاءَ
خَسِرْتُ فِيهَا كُلَّ شِيْءٍ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ سَبِيلَ الصَّبْرِ
أَلْتَهِمُ الخَسَارَةَ الَّتِي جَرَّعَنِي إِيَّاهَا الزَّمَنُ
أَسْبَحُ فِي بَحْرِ الدَّمْعِ الثَّقِيلِ
كُنْتُ أَتَمَنَّى لَكِنْ
تَأْتِي الرِّيَاحُ بِمَا لَا تَشْتَهِي السُّفُنُ
لَا القَلْبُ يَحْتَمِلُ الهَزِيمَةَ َولَا
يَحْتَمِلُ الانْكِسَارَ البَدَنُ
أَيْنَ السَّبِيلُ وَالخَلَاصُ
أَيْنَ الكَفَنُ؟!
قَدْ عُدْنَا لِلْعَذَابِ ثَانِيَةً
وَخَلَّفْنَا وَرَاءَنَا جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ
لَا تَسَلْ مَا السَّبَبُ؟!
مَنْ اِرْتَدَى ثَوْبَ الحَزَنِ
مُرْغَمًا
لَا يَدْرِي مَا السَّبَبُ
مَنْ عَاشَ حَلَاوَةَ الحُبِّ يَوْمًا
لَا بُدَّ يَوْمًا أَنْ يَنْزِفَ دَمًا
مَنْ سُقِيَ طَعْمَ الصَّبِّ يَوْمًا
وَصَارَ العَاشِقَ المُتَيَّمَا
لَا بُدَّ يَوْمًا أَنْ يَسْقُطَ فِي الجُبِّ
وَيُبَاعَ بِسُوقِ العَبِيدِ
فَقَطْ لِأَنَّهُ تَوَهَّمَ
فَقَطْ فَقَطْ
لِأَنَّهُ تَوَهَّمَ.

أَنَا لَسْتُ لِي
قَالَهَا شَاعِرٌ قَبْلِي
بِالنِّيَابَةِ عَمَّنْ
ضَاعَ وَمَنْ سَمَا
حِينَ قَالَ أَنَّ الكُلَّ لَهُ
إِلَّا هُوَ
كَانَ يَقْصِدُنِي أَنَا
مَنْ أَنَا؟
غَيْرُ كَلِمَةِ حُبٍّ زَرَعْتُهَا لَكُمْ
تَأْكُلُونَ مِنْهَا
إِلَّا أَنَا
يَتَسَاقَطُ رُطَبُهَا عَلَيْكُمْ
تَفْرَحُ بِهَا قُلُوبُكُمْ
إِلَّا قَلْبِى أَنَا
أُنْشُودَةُ عِشْقٍ أَعْزِفُهَا
تَرْقُصُ عَلَيْهَا أَرْوَاحُكُمْ
إِلَّا رُوحِي أَنَا
أَنَا المَاضِي كَمَا قُلْتُ قَبْلًا
أَيَّهَا القَادِمُ
بِسِكِّينِ الذَّبْحِ مَهْلًا
اُتْرُكْنِي قَلِيلًا لَعَلِّي
أَعْرِفُ مَنْ أَنَا؟
فَمَا كُنْتُ تَرْنِيمَةَ أَمَلٍ أَبَدًا
لِي أَنَا
وَمَا كُنْتُ سُنْبُلةً تُرَفْرِفُ عَلَيْهَا
فَرَاشَاتُ الجَمَالِ
لِي أَنَا
أَيُّتهَا العَاشِقَةُ العَابِرَةُ مِنْ هُنَا
أَيُّهَا العَاشِقُ العَابِرُ فَوْقِي أَنَا
إِيَّـاكَ أَنْ تَظْلِمَا
إِيَّـاكَ أَنْ تَظْلِمَا
إِيَّـاكَ أَنْ تَظْلِمَا
فَمَا تَكَلَّمْتُ عَنْ نَارٍ
أَوْ عَذَابٍ
أَوْ الأَلَمِ
الَّذِي يَعْتَصِرُ القَلْبَ المُتَأَلِّـمَا
والدَّمْعَ المنهمرَ الثقيلَ الثقيلَ
كَأَنَّ عِشْقِي كَانَ عِشْـقًا مُجْـرِمًا
وَمَا كَانَ وَأُقْسِـمُ إِلَّا طُهْرًا
سَكَنَ الْقَلْبَ المُتَيَّمَا
فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ
بِصَوْتٍ خَاشِعٍ غَيْرِ باَكٍ
يَكْفِي دَمْعِي أَنَا
يَكْفِي دَمْعِي أَنَا.
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THE MURAL OF LOVE AND PAIN

I cannot reach him
The moon has fallen on the other
side of the river
O dark night
during which I lost everything
and do not know the path to patience
I devour the loss that time has made me swallow
I swim in a sea of heavy tears
I had my wishes but
winds blow contrary to the will of ships
Neither can the heart bear defeat
nor can the body bear to be broken
Where is the path to salvation?
Where is the shroud?
We have returned again to suffering
and left the Gardens of Eden behind
Ask not why!
He who has put on the gown of grief
unwillingly
does not know the reason
He who has experienced the sweetness of love
will have to bleed one day
He who has once tried the taste of nostalgia
and has become an infatuated lover
must one day fall in the well
and be sold at the slave market
only because he had an illusion
only
because he had an illusion

I’m not my own self
This was said by a poet before me
on behalf of him who was lost
and him who rose higher
When he said that everyone was his own self
except himself
he was referring to me
Who am I?
I’m only the word of love I’ve planted for all of you
to feed on
but not for myself
Its dates will drop down on you
Your hearts will find joy
but not my heart
A love tune I play
for your souls to dance
but not for my soul
I am the past as I said before
O you who is coming
with a knife to slaughter
wait
Leave me alone for a while
Perhaps
I’ll know who I am ?
For I have never been a hymn of hope
for myself
nor have I been a spike on whom
butterflies of beauty flutter
O infatuated woman passing through
O infatuated man passing above me
Take care not to do any injustice
Take care not to do any injustice
Take care not to do any injustice
For I have not spoken of fire
or agony
or pain
wrenching the suffering heart
and the heavy pouring tears
As though my love has been a criminal act
and it has never been
I swear
but purity
that took abode in the infatuated heart
Read therefore whatever is easy for you
from the holy books
with a submissive voice
without weeping
My tears will suffice
My tears will suffice
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انْعِكَاسُ المَرَايَا

كُلَّـمَا فَكَّرْتُ فِيكِ وَدَائِمًا أُفَكِّرُ فِيكِ
أَنْظُرُ فِي مِرْآتِي
وَأُطْلِقُ الرَّصَاصَ عَلَى قَلْبِي
كَيْ لَا أُفَكِّرَ فِيكِ أَكْثَرَ وَأَمُوتَ

إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَظَلَّ حَيًّـا
حَتَّى أُحَرِّرَكِ مِنْ يَـدِ
مَنْ عَشِقَكِ قَبْـلِي غَصْبًا
ثُمَّ أَمُوتُ.
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THE REFLECTION OF MIRRORS

Whenever I think of you
and I always do
I look in the mirror
and shoot at my heart
so that I may not think of you any more
and die

I want to stay alive
until I free you
free you from his grip
who loved you before me by force
then I’ll die

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