To Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da

by  and translated by Ethan Pullman.  /  May 19, 2014  / No comments

Hamdy El-Gazzar presents two poems by the contemporary Egyptian poet Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da.

Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da

Egyptian poet Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da. Photo courtesy of Hamdy El-Gazzar.

Here are two beautiful poems that are the last written and published by the esteemed Egyptian poet Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da on his Facebook page. In 2013 a volume of his work was published by The General Authority for Cultural Palaces, under the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. An upcoming book, titled Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da in Critical Mirrors, will feature his poetry alongside 38 studies and critical essays by various writers and scholars.

  1. Off-Screen
  2. “From Egypt” attempts to draw a cultural map of Egypt and the Arab world by profiling the artistic, literary, and political issues that affect the region via on-the-ground coverage of current events, publications, and the fight for freedom of expression.
  3. Hamdy el Gazzar
  4. Hamdy El-Gazzar is an Egyptian writer and one of the 39 young Arab writers included in the Beirut 39 Project. His first novel, Sihr Aswad (Dar Merit, 2005) won the prestigious Sawaris Award, and was subsequently translated by Humphrey Davies (Black Magic, AUC Press, 2007). His second novel, Ladhdhat Sirriyya (Secret Pleasures) was published by Dar al-Dar in 2008. He is currently working on a third novel.

The first of the two poems below, a gift from the poet to himself, is titled “To Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da.” The second is “The Beloved’s Morning Alters!!”

To Mohamed Farid Abu Sa’da

Our eyes glide with unmatched imagination
Without the coffee that is withheld from us
Or the cigarettes forbidden by Cesar’s command
Imagination that changed the heart’s arteries
And gave us a break from time
While we watch the Square’s miracle
Born and aborted at once
As we attend to small matters
Repeating it yearningly
As we guess who we missed on the other side
Untouched by boredom
A coughing fit suddenly takes over
And a headache knocks without warning
And grandchildren tamper with all the papers we accumulated
As if harvested by wildfire
But we forever await an innocent verse
And a virgin’s image
And a story unbound by geography or chapters

The Beloved’s Morning Alters!!

A morning
Tries to stretch
Like a lover in bed!
A Morning
Dips its brush
in featherlike clouds
What says the morning to your eyes?
Tell me
Did it give me away?
Did it say I grew old?
And that when we met, you looked more beautiful
And younger!
Does time skip you?
Or is it I who changes?
Grey clouds greeted me
But now they part
Blue-eyed and blonde, as you draw near
Oh sister of my soul!
Is time a tame cat?
Bouncing between a hurried winter
And a latent summer
As if you were a witch
Or from heaven
I see what you want me to see
That I believed you are all women
Whom I adored ِ
That you, in my many lives, you were a daughter
You were my mother
And a sister
And you were Lover and Love
You were the fruit of time
And water like sugar or wine to the lips
I become light
As if I am air
Blowing here and there
I am a May Pole releasing my ribbons
O sister of my soul
Are you a perfume bottle? Opened
To imbue the air with its fragrance?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.