Like water


The heart is like water

Passions agitate its surface

Rippling water in water

Creature-like, an utterance

Commingles both the good and bad

Like time, human beings body forth

As much of darkness as of light

Just as day illuminates before the night

So an extinguished star begets

Another brilliance

Similar to our vanished forbears

So we, similarly, must disappear

Time alone ensures its own endurance

As plainly as you can plainly see

Strangers in their native land are

Ardent practitioners of good

Whose intimates sever ties and turn

Frequentation to a widening gulf

Remember, should you have sealed

Friendship in the throes of poverty

Should prosperity arrive, remember

Al Ma’arri

Al-Ma’arri (full name in Arabic: أبو العلاء أحمد بن عبد الله بن سليمان التنوخي المعري, Abu al-‘Alā Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sulaimān al-Tanūkhī al-Ma’arri, December 26, 973–May 10 or May 21, 1057) was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer. He was a controversial rationalist of his time, he attacked the dogmas of religion, and rejected the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.

Abu ‘Ali al-Muhassin al-Tanukhi (Tanukhi) was born in Syria and lost his sight at the age of four due to smallpox. He hailed from the city of Ma’arra (المعرة) in Syria from which his name derives. He then went on to study in Aleppo, Antioch, and other Syrian towns pursuing a career as a freethinker, philosopher and poet before returning his native town of Ma’arrat al-Numan, where he lived the rest of his life, practicing asceticism and vegetarianism.

He briefly travelled to the center of Baghdad where he drew a great following of both male and female disciples to listen to his lectures on poetry, grammar and rationalism. One of the recurring themes of his philosophy was the rights of reason against the claims of custom, tradition and authority.

Although an advocate of social justice and action, Al-Ma’arri suggested that women should not bear children in order to save future generations from the pains of life.

Al Ma’arri was exerting a notable influence on Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”. His collection of poems “Unnecessary Necessity” charts the tragic dimension of human experience.

Time

Time

I clasp the stem of time

My head a fiery tower

What, then, is this blood

Ever rooted in the sand?

Flaming instants nullify our words

My soul’s forgotten its passion’s

Purpose, forgotten its heritage

Hidden in house of forms

Forgotten what the rain recounts

What the trees ink inscribes

What cleaves me from myself?

Might I be more than one?

My history, my ruination?

My promised land, my pyre?

Might I be several?

Each interrogating the other?

Who are you and where from?

In this be madness

Then let madness edify

Let madness be my guide

Adonis

Ali Ahmad Said Asbar (Arabic: علي أحمد
سعيد إسبر‎; transliterated: alî ahmadi sa’îdi asbar or Ali Ahmad Sa’id) born January
1930, also known by the pseudonym Adonis or Adunis (Arabic: أدونيس), is a Syrian poet and essayist who has made his career largely in Lebanon and France. He has written more than twenty books in his native Arabic.

Adonis is a pioneer of modern Arabic poetry. He is often seen as a rebel, an iconoclast who follows his own rules. “Arabic poetry is not the monolith this dominant critical view suggests, but is pluralistic, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction.”

Adonis was considered to be a candidate for the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, but the awards went to British playwright Harold Pinter, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, British novelist Doris Lessing and French novelist J.M.G. Le Clezio.

In 2007 he was awarded the Bjørnson Prize.