Hassan Al Matrooshi



Hassan Al-Matrooshi is an award-winning poet, translator, and media-man from the Sultanate of Oman. He was awarded the Sultan’s Praise Medal, and honored as the Omani poet for 2016. Hasan has published four Arabic poetry collections: Lonely.. Like My Father’s Grave (2003), On The Same Mountainside (2008), I Have What To Forget (2013). and The Night Is Sufficient For Me (2016). The third collection, I have What To Forget, was translated into French by Moroccan poet Aziza Rahmouni, and published in Oman in 2014. Another collection of selected poems titled I Peer At Them From This Aperture was translated into Spanish by Abeer Abdulfattah, an Egyptian translator, and published in 2015 by Costa Rican House of Poetry, Costa Rican Ministry of Culture.

Hassan Al-Matrooshi’s poems are translated from the original Arabic into English by poet and translator Nizar Sartawi.


For My Mother’s Soul

I owe her O God
I owe her
for the tales in our quarter,
for the remote morning loaf,
for her grieves,
for the departure

I owe her –
the mother of this dew and these palm trees

I owe her
for her coffee cups,
for the little lonely roosters in the house,
for those who pass into my blood without her
for midnight roads
for poetry, poverty and songs

I owe her for her death

I owe her
when she forgives me
for the yellow lies
remaining on my garment
when I sneak out of my class alone
I owe her for my screaming before meal time

I owe her for talking very little

I owe her for the parting
I owe her for the longing

I owe her
that I’m yet a child
squabbling with the wolf of years


Lest you grow up

I might mean
or not mean
what I utter

whenever I say: do come with me
that we may commit our dreams
like two accursed gods
who prowl the wilderness,
I’m taken by the lightness of a child
and I invite my orphaned look-alikes
to celebrate like schoolboys
the Mother’s Day
the sparrows would crowd on my door
and the seasons visit me

So many skies have farewelled me
traveling alone and with my names
towards those eyes of yours
and I was to reach

Come with me
this door is open
on a mulatto sea
Take me now to recover
what my great grandfathers left
upon the scorching heat: spirited steeds,
prophecies, vengeance, languages, commandments,
wars, women in captivity,
paths, cameleer songs, and mounts

my heart was naught
but a primitive herb
that ibexes chewed

shepherds’ pipes
You are the doubts of those who reach
Hide me in the cardinal points
a sign
for inquirers
I am the utterance of beings
In the songs of the departees

Be it that I
have poured the night a bottle of tunes
on the ground
and beckoned: Pass on

Be it that I
was the one who pinched the laugh in your sleep,
that your sleep may escape from its idiotic years,
None is there above my shadow but I
sitting at the end of the world like a pirate
calling you: Look!

Be it that I
conspired against the almanac of genesis
and cancelled the all calendars
lest you grow up

I am not but a messenger

I might mean
or not mean
what I utter


Dreamy young men and a poet

The first said: I’ll be a prophet
riding the steed of heaven,
and pass before your homes bearing glad tidings

The second said: I’ll be the knight of the crown
I will invade the lands,
open their gates for my soldiers,
come back triumphant,
and give captive women to princesses in their palace,
and give them bracelets

The third said: A hermit I will be
and perform thaumaturgic deeds like saints
and descend to heaven in my overcoat
glowing with deadly sins

The poet said: Comrades
I will remain
as nature has begotten me… a bird!