Selected Poem: Man’s Time of Loss (Aalim Abbas)

Selected Poem: Man’s Time of Loss (Aalim Abbas)

KHARTOUM (Sudanow)  - Aalim Abbas is one of the prominent contemporary Sudanese poets. He was born in al Fashir, Darfur, in 1948 and graduated in the Faculty of Sharia and Law, Omdurman Islamic University, in 1974. He has won the Republic Order for Arts in the 1971 Cultural Festival and the first prize in the Sudanese youth poets competition in 1973.
Aalim has published a number of poetry books. He is currently the Secretary General of the National Council for the Promotion of Culture and Arts.

Following is an example of his early poems:


Man’s Time of Loss


Betwixt one vision and another

Rise the cloud of horror unveiled

Encamped in utter tragedy

The arms of disfigurement shudder

And its legs grow as the galantine,

Black trees bearing bitter fruit

And thorns imploring touch of one caught

Betwixt one vision and another

The threads of comedy entangle.

In a time unjust

You denied an offering hand

But when you are chaste

The greatest of hungers survive.

If you do not eat of your dead brother’s flesh,

Or lie commit adultery or the like you will be in exile, written off if not.

They made one face

For the worshipped creator,

But one hundred, one thousands, one million face

In the laboratories of ignorance.

Short wisdom embraced by his

They are:

“What can a slave do when hunger pains but consume his God?”

Betwixt one vision and another

The serpent of reality twists

About my neck

Telling me to begin anew without down pulling

Roots or history

So that I might possess the world.

What a world…!

A chance remembrance splits the pearl of consciousness

And sends it reeling.

The beast, this earth, rises to gnaw away

At my stick, upon which I rest

This burden of me and down I falls.


The river flowing beneath me

And the winds in abundance around me yield to my wish.

The birds as my soldiers, love as my king.

It comes but once until doom’s day:

Kingship, power, wonder and despair.

When I die in my niche I shall ever remain,

Until that beast, this earth rises to gnaw my stick

On which I rest this deadness.


*** The poem was first published in “Modern Sudanese Poetry” (Anthology and Appraisal), selected and translated by El Sir Khidir, 2017.




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