22-September-2020

Selected Poem: Don Quixote (Al Nour Osman Abbakar)

Selected Poem: Don Quixote (Al Nour Osman Abbakar)

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – Sudanese Poet Al Nour Osman Abbakar "1938 - 2009" played an important role in the Sudanese cultural movement. He was one of the founders of The Forest and Sahara school, a group of prominent writers of the 1960s sought to solve the question of the Sudan’s cultural identity.

Al Nour migrated to Germany after his graduation from the University of Khartoum in 1962 where he studied German literature in its classical origins and read the existential literature of the period. This period influenced deeply his thought and literary orientation. The effects of this influence appeared in his collections of poems.

Al Nour had lived in Doha, Qatar, since 1980 where he worked as a translator and editing manager in Doha magazine 1980-1986 and then he joined the Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar as a translator and journalist until his death in 2009.

Following is one of his poems:

 

Don Quixote

 

Burdened by night of comedy and tragedy

And you are as illuminating as dawn,

As birth, as action,

As invincible, as consciousness awaken

I stopped and my words halted the horse

The echo of your painting apparent

The door is a crack in the plains of night

And a spring in the Sahara of woe.

As I have been beguiling the guards,

I spread out my magic garment

Learnt out against the staff of my thought,

Against my arm

And slept,

My contrivances feigned asleep.

Not even a sonorous voice did I utter

Nor a sweet one.

I dreamt that the night’s river

Churned, boiled, shimmered

And broadened, granting me my lifetime,

And that I sold my rags

And that your love was forgotten

I screamed awoke,

Feeble with the collapse of the dream

I betray everything, Satan even,

And never shed a tear

Nor prayed in my niches, disturbed.

Yet light grows a falsehood

If the sin of my inclination to you

Has attached to my comedy.

The signs of that to come,

Yet never pass-out of action and dreams

Purifying the wetness of the wound.

I behold an Oryx,

A bridge

And a crowd.

Lo! This is you and the bridge, waiting.

Your dress shouts in the winds.

Your breast resilient, your steps a riddle

And between your vision and the guards

Lay our forbidden lifetime

I knelt down, screamed appealing for help.

Your hearing is a rock in the wind,

For I don’t believe in intoxicating happiness in death

Nor does my soul desire to depart,

And if I choose between the aching wound

And dying in words,

I would return favours to the cup-raiser.

I stopped and my words bridled the horse

At your door.

Guess, I am shivering in the wind

And my horsemanship has gone

And my mind preserved in vision.

For whom should I long?

To whom should I kneel down?

And suffer the grief of the way?

On whom should words fall in love?

Your expanse, O my town, in awakeness;

Your marriage, present in consciousness,

Your love is my greatest fortress

And you are my everlasting love

 

*** The poem was translated from Arabic by Al Sir Khidir in his book "Modern Sudanese Poetry (Anthology and Appraisal)".

 

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