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Teirab Al-Sharief: Short Poems With Intensive Meanings

Teirab Al-Sharief: Short Poems With Intensive Meanings

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Sudanese poet Teirab al-Sharief ’s short poems truly hold their place in the reader’s heart with their distinctive rhythms; coloured depictions and poetical qualities are employed.

“They celebrate the poet’s own soul, sweeping melodies of the features of annunciation with an attendant presence. Teirab is another example of the Lebanese poet, Adonis. They both have mutual characteristics of laconic diction, in other words, using words economically plus composing poems in short forms with intensive meanings” as the poems translator Alsir Khidir said in his book Modern Sudanese Poetry.

Teirab was born in Kutum of South Darfur. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum, 1969. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 where he obtained his MA and PhD in Arabic Literature from the University of Indiana. He joined the University of Minnesota (US) as a professor of Arabic for a year. In 1998 he moved to the American University in Cairo and then the American University in Bahrain.

Following are examples of Teirab’s poetry:


The Call of the Distance


I sail through the flame, burnt

And filled with the ancient glow.

My body is the year of angry corn.


The smoke and ashes predict

A time which would come like a flood

A moon which would surprise us

In the morning

Before the signal

Before departing

Before bestowing upon us

Its light

Which would carry the features of annunciation


These are the roots

Assured that there is a lighted window

In the garden

And a friendly ear of corn

Glowing despite the darkness of the cavern.


The Contours of My Lover’s Face

The contours of your face in the morning

Remind me of my grief

Remind me of my wounds

I escape from them

Lest my grief return

Lest my wounds re-open…

The contours of your face before sunset

Remind me of the whinnying

The whinnying of hearts

That committed suicide

That opened their eyes

She vanished

Killing themselves twice.

The contours of your face after sunset

Adorn my heart with dignity

For, when darkness come

You flood me with light

I am dazzled

And joy fills my heart.


A lyric for Julie Andrews

Roll me, O waterfall of the sweeping melody

Into the mold of the unknown

Cut through my soul

( doh … ray … me )

Deepening your rhythm into my emotion

Allow me to see a face of acceptance.


Travelling Moon

With the big nakedness, to you, comes my yearning.

Floats and sails on the dreamy waters

Of evening.

Hides its head, foists it

In the little chamber of grass.



The distance burns

And between the beginning and the end

The expanse is filled

With the body of superstition.


Dream of the Old Face

The sea’s waves are ripped open

Diffusing musk, ambergris

Scent and incense

Exhaling the fragrance of their origins

Like breakers in a gale

Washing away the immunity of the resident rust.

What have the wrestling waves?

But a voiceless reverberation?

But the tempest of whining?

Do these islands follow

The seagull’s trail when they migrate

And behold ships casting off

When the ages draw nearer to their funeral pyre

And when time burns.



I am coming with your winds

Which would blow in the end of the marsh

O moon of seasons

Sticking to a poisoned star

Carving, in the innermost of origins

An epic for the bank of arrival

You are the light and the last window.


The wind of curiosity

A lust for the death of the drowning seasons

In our bellies

Invades us

And we sink in the sea of vision

May be we benefit from resistance.





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