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Abdurrazaq Alrubai`y Poet and dramatist Abdurrazaq Alrubai`y was born in Baghdad in 1961, and has a degree in Arabic Language from Baghdad University. He left Iraq for Jordan in 1994. While in Jordan, he wrote for several mainstream magazines and newspapers, such as Ar-Raseef (Pavement), Ad-Dustoor (Constitution), and Ar-Ra`i (Opinion). After a year, he emigrated to Yemen, where he worked as an Arabic language teacher in Sana’a University. He also worked as a journalist for Aswat (Voices) magazine, and continued at the same time writing poetry. His third emigration was to the Sultanate of Oman in 1998, where he worked for Nizwa magazine, and the Ash-Shabeeba (Youth) newspaper.

Alrubai`y has published more than fifteen collections of poetry and plays, including: Oh, the Tempest!, performed in Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, and Canada; Your cup, Socrates, performed in Sharjah, UAE; The Acrobat, performed in Baghdad, the Netherlands, and London; and, The Hell Woman, performed in Baghdad, New Zealand, and Denmark. Some of his poetry collections include: Attached to the Previous Death, Baghdad, 1987; A Summary of the Faults, Geneva, 1999; Hanging Funerals, Masqat, 2000; North to the Tropic of Cancer, Madrid, 2001; Tomorrow, War will Go out for a Walk, Amman, 2004. The last work is being translated into English by Safaa Sheikh Hamad.

To learn more about Abdurrazaq Alrubai`y, see http://www.r-razaq.com, as well as his Wikipedia article.

Translatation from Arabic by Safaa Sheikh Hamad

Thus spake Ali Ismael
Arabic version

هكذا تكلّم (علي إسماعيل) (*)

أعيدوا إلي َ
يدي َ
لأمسك ما راح
من ريح عمري
لأجري ..
وراء فراشات
حقل الصباح
التي أنبتتها
على راحتي َ
السماء الجميلة

أعيدوا إلي َ
يدي َ
لأحضن قلب أبي
في السكون
وجثة أمي القتيلة
لأحمل أشيائي المدرسية
أرسم بيتا
لحلمي الذبيح
زوارق من  ورق النهر
أعود إلى ما تبقى
من الريح
والنحل يمتص ثدي الخميلة

أعيدوا إلي َ
يدي َ
كي أزرع الزعفران
في ( زعفرانية ) الشمس
عند ضفاف الطفولة
أصافح كف الحياة
أرش الدروب
أصعد نخلة
بستان جدي الطويلة

أعيدوا إلي
يدي َ
لأصفع ( قابيل )
أصفع الجنرالات
أصفع طين التماثيل
أصفع وجه التراب
الذي زيفوه بأشعارهم
والشموس التي هادنت
والأكف التي صفقت
والحروف التي ضللت
لأصفع كل الذين نسوا
لغة الاحتجاج
كل الذين
لاذوا بظل السياج
لأصفع كل النياشين
لأصفع من هللوا للحبال التي
ضيّقت راحتيها
لكي تستطيل رقاب
الجياد الأصيلة
أعيدوا إلي َ...
أعيدوا إلي َ....
أعيدوا إلي َ
يدي َ

(*) علي إسماعيل: طفل في الثانية عشرة من العمر فقد ذراعيه وعائلته في القصف الأمريكي على مدينة بغداد, وعندما سأله الصحفيون : ماذا تريد ؟ أجاب : يدي َ!!

English version

Thus spake Ali Ismael (*)

Get my hands back to me
To catch what has gone
Of the wind of my days
To run behind the morning butterflies
The beautiful sky sowed in my palms

Get my hands back to me
To hug my father's heart
And my mother's dead body
To carry my school bag
To paint a house for my slain dream
Boats from the river leaves
To come back to the rest of the wind
The birds and the bees

Get my hands back to me
To plant saffron in the city of the sun
Near the banks of childhood
Drizzle the roads
With love and sparrows
Climb my grandpa’s long palm

Get my hands back to me
To slap Cane and the generals
Slap the statues mud
Slap the floor face faked by their poems
And the suns that compromised
And the hands that clapped
And the letters that misled the way
All those who forgot the protesting language
All those who asked refuge by the fence
All the medals and decorations
All those who cheered for the ropes

Get my hands
Get my hands
Get my hands back to me

(*) Ali Ismael was a 12-year old child from Baghdad, who lost his hands and family after the American bombing of the city. When journalists once asked him what he wanted, he replied: “my hands”.

Translation from Arabic by Safaa Sheikh Hamad