Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday's poem: "Your sorrow" by Abdel Rahman al Abnoudi

الحـــــزن محاوطكي
وهــمــك تاعــبكــي
وليــــــــــــــــــــه ؟
ليه مش قادرة تبكي ؟

الأعيــــان خـــانوكي
سـارقين طين أبوكي
لعـــدوّك بــاعــوكي
ولإيــــد الــــزمــــن

باعــوكي وشافـوكي
وهــما بيــدبحــوكي
وضــحكوا وفاتوكي
وقبــضــوا التمــــن

عرّوكي ف ميدانهم
ولا واحــد أدانــهـم
وعــلّـــوا أدانــهــم
وبـقـــالهم جـــرس

جــــلاّدك محـــامي
وحـــاميكي حرامي
وبــإيه ينفع كلامي
يا ســـاكنة الخرس

عبد الرحمن الأبنودي

Your sorrow besieges you
And your worries exhaust you
And why?
Why can’t you cry

The notables have betrayed you
Those who stole your land,
Sold you to your enemy
And did not look back

They sacrificed you and watched you
Being slaughtered
They laughed and left you
And went to get paid

They undressed you in their courtyards
And no one blamed them
They raised their ears
And wore their bells

Your executioner is a lawyer
Your protector is a thief
What use are my words?
When you are a mute

Ton chagrin te cerne
Et tes soucis t'épuisent
Et pourquoi?
Pourquoi ne peux tu pas pleurer?

Les notables t'ont trahi
Les pillards de la terre
T'ont vendu à ton ennemi
Et à ta destinée

Ils t'ont sacrifié et t'ont regardé
Te faire égorger
Ils ont ri et t'ont abandonné
Et se sont fait payer

Ils t'ont déshabillé dans leur cour
Sans en être blâmés
Ils ont dressé leurs oreilles
Et ont mis leurs clochettes

Ton bourreau est l'avocat
Ton protecteur est ton voleur
A quoi servent mes paroles
Quand tu es muette

(I really have to thank Karin for helping me get right les accords du participe passé)


Anonymous said...

istaz, i have a question, off the subject of poetry. perhaps you may know the answer. in arabic we have a term, 'zanakha' which would describe a taste that foods acquire when they are hot and exposed to cold. man, cant tell you how many a meals have been ruined by this insiduous phenomenon. i thought it only happens to hot foods and meat chicken fish (the other day i ordered tabbouli from restaurant and it was afflicted with it). anyway, the question is, what is this concept called in english? my non arabic friends have no idea what i am talking about and cliam they have never experienced it before. am i missing something? we could sit down to the same dinner which has been compromised by the menacing zanakha and i taste and they dont. they think i'm nuts.

Rami Zurayk said...

Hmmm interesting question. But first, lets use the right words. It is zankha, not zanakha. zanakha is when people act silly and their actions are like zankha: they ruin the mood.

I can fully sympathize with you, especially about fish and chicken which is not prepared well. I also find that zankha taste appears in food after a microwave is used for defrosting or cooking or heating. But the worst is the mixture of egg and water: the glasses used for drinking will smell of zankha for a long time. The way to get rid of it is a few drops of chlorox in the cleaning water. I also noticed that if you leave the glasses and plates for long enough after washing them, even without chlorox, the zankha disappears indicating that it is a volatile compound.

I also share the same experience with you: many people I have met in Europe or in the US do not seem to be able to smell it. There are people in Lebanon who are more sensitive to it than others. I personally find the smell so intolerable that I cannot eat eggs or fish and drink water from the same glass twice, as it will have been "contaminated" the first time. This is where the ibriq (jug) comes in very handy. And yes, i have not found a name for it in english. We looked for one many years ago, and then dropped it.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your response. this sheds some light on the subject.


Anonymous said...

ps, i have a non-arabic friend and he told me there is a term they use in english called 'wet dog smell.' but this only applies to the smell and he claims it never translates into something one can taste.

Anonymous said...


laich always istaz

good rami, you are a poete, trilingual, i am in france and i am incapable of translating arabic peome

Anonymous said...

c'est moi qui a écrit le dernier commentaire?


Anonymous said...

what about 'stale' mainly used with old bread but it can also mean sour, old, musty, fusty ...

it doesn't work with fish and meat though (can somebody explain why chicken is not meat in Arabic?)

also dear Lebanese arabists, do not think your language is the only one with un-translatable words in it. Ask an Englishman to describe rain, trying to translate his answer will soon find you out of your depths.

Similarly, concerning the sensitivity of the Lebanese palate, it's sensitive to some things but not to others, salt is one thing that is used rather too abundantly for my (European) taste.

Anonymous said...

perhaps someone should take it upon themselves to make the next scientific breakthrough, identifying and isolating the 'zankha.' this will be well received in the Arab world.