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Poetry From the July 2011 issue: The Arab Spring, Part I


O My Libya

ليبياي

We’ll go with you wherever you may go.
Our palm trees blossom from your secret springs.
Your face redeems us.

When Nowhere’s left for you we’ll take your place.
You will always be us
when nowhere’s left to go.

The flower cranes its neck upon your door.
Arrogance avoids your path.

Nights frolic, their stars bright as suns.
The Pleiades usher in the dawn
where young girls weave green fields
       for that which is to come,

where grains of wheat melt
        into what the pigeons dream
who coo their songs for those close by,
        and those away,
their tune a bread infused with generosity.

Their graceful chorus sings beneath the archways,
nights when streaked rose petals
welcome those who drink yesterday’s waters

We’ll be there to ward off
that evil, to invoke the name God.
Let our soft prayers thunder out, o my country.

سنأتي معكِ ونذهب معكِ
طلعُنا من سر ينابيعك
سعيُنا من هدي تعابيركِ

سنكون انتِ حين لايظلُ لكِ اينٌ
وستظلي نحن
 حين لن يعود لنا اين

تشرأب الزهرة على اعطاف بابكِ
وتحيدُ النعرة عن مسار خطوكِ

تتهادي الليالي مُشمسات بالأنجم
فيحلُ الصُبح يستدل بالثريا
لتخيط البنت للأتِ حقولِ

لتذوب الحنطة في غيب الحمائم
تهدل للقاصي والداني مغاني
خبزة اللحن بمنقوع الشمائل

جوقة للغيد من خلفِ البواكي
في ليالٍ بتلات الورد الموشى
حفُلتْ في مياه الامس بالف ناهلٍ

سنأتي لكِ لنُذهب عنك ِشرهم
نتعوذ ونبسمل
 ولندمدم هادرين وا بلادي.


ليلى النيهوم

2010




Laila NeihoumLaila Neihoum

Laila Neihoum is a journalist, poet, editor and translator. She was the first Libyan author to join the International Writers Program at the prestigious University of Iowa Writing Program. She edits and contributes to a number of Libyan journals and newspapers and has published a short-story collection and compiled a collection of poems by young Libyans.

Translated from ArabicArabic by Michael BeardMichael Beard and by Adnan HaydarAdnan Haydar

Michael Beard teaches in the English department at the University of North Dakota. He and Adnan Haydar collaborate frequently on translations from Arabic. Their translation of Adonis's Mihyar of Damascus, His Poems, won the Modern Language Association's 2009 Lois Roth Award. He coedits the journal Middle Eastern Literatures and the Middle East Literature in Translation series for Syracuse University Press.

Adnan Haydar is head of the Arabic section in the department of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures and professor of Arabic and comparative literature in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, where he also directed the King Fahd Middle East Studies Program from 1993 to 1999. Haydar was previously affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Pennsylvania; Middlebury College; and the University of Massachusetts. Books that he has coauthored or coedited include Naked in Exile: Khalil Hawi's The Threshing Floors of Hunger, Interpretation and Translation; and Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition. He was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Lois Roth Award for Translation for his translation, with Michael Beard, of Adonis’s Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs. He has been a recipient of Fulbright and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships. He founded, directed, and taught at the Summer Institute for Arabic Language and Culture at the Lebanese American University and the Beirut-Brummana Arabic Language Institute at the American University for Science and Technology in Lebanon. He is currently working on a book on Lebanese oral poetry.