Selected Poems

By Khalid Albudoor

 

Translated by John Peate

 

UNKNOWN BEDOUINS

 

Before the sun climbs over

the walls of the mud houses

unknown Bedouins return

to rest themselves in my dreams

after selling milk and honey

in the city market.

 

 

The sandy courtyard lies in fog

and the palm tree’s plaits

sway, seeming asleep

listening

to the water flowing

in the depths of the well.

 

 

Pale pictures hunt in my head

A long, empty time has passed since I found oblivion

and back came the Bedouins

raiding my day with their sandy faces.

 

 

Where does this sound of the coffee grinder come from

that resounds through the walls of my house

where I doze

forgetting the television

flickering noiselessly in the shadows?

 

 

I know my memory has forgotten the shape of water

I have drifted like those

who wander without land

searching for stars for centuries.

 

 

Tell me, O trees, which watch over my lounge,

where these voices come from

that resound in my night.

Maybe if you concentrated

you could make out their faces

which camel driver’s song they’re singing

or which memory . . .

and why

they raid my house now,

with their quizzical faces,

while my sleep is nothing but

the contentions of drowsiness

on the threshold of dawn.

 

 

Lantern

 

The moon stays

All night

Hanging like a lantern

In the dark

I am looking at patches of silver clouds

That enveloped the moon

Searching for a dream

I lost

When I was a small boy.

 

 

THIS SHORE

 

I will dig the sand

the wet sand of this shore

I will bury my fingers

deep

and my soul will descend,

descend slowly,

and in silence

the warmth will rise

beneath the skin

I will dig deeper

and I will dig

this shore, which I know

like the palms of my hands.

Here, I have built spacious houses,

apportioned rooms

and accumulated towers of sand

till the tide buries them

and I return

the next day

and build.

Here, I know

I can play

Here, I realize dreams can be buried

and also

grief.

 

 

LIKE A ROCK

 

I can no longer stay

I have sat like a rock

for hours

rebuking grief

while gulping from my cup,

bitter was this coffee   

 

Perhaps it’ll bring a morning breeze

that will sway the branches

Perhaps I’ll sing a little

and the sea birds will alight near me

and I’ll breathe in the scent of the coral.

But I can no longer manage to sing

my voice reaches

only myself.

I have been sitting like a rock

for hours

perhaps I

can no longer manage to stay.

 

I will leave the place,

and so I said to myself

I will leave it so that after me

only memories will dwell here.

 

 

 Remains of the Night

 

Summer's Fog

Morning is not here yet

I cannot see

The sleeping town in front of me.

A refreshing air comes from the west

Palm trees stand in the fog

While contemplating

On what is left of the night

I hear sounds of birds.

 

 

Bare feet

And the house's roof is cold

A little bird

Comes flying and lands

On the long palm's frond.

It gazes toward me

I feel it is asking

What happened?

Why didn't you sleep last night?

 

 

Born in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 1961, Khalid Albudoor is an award- winning poet, writer, lecturer, and cultural advisor.

Albudoor is considered at the forefront of the modern poetry movement in the U.A.E. His poems first appeared in local magazines and newspapers in 1978.

He won the Al-Khal Poetry Award for his first collection of poetry published in Lebanon in 1992 under the title Lail, or “NIGHT”.

Albudoor is the author of “Sowar Men Alams,” “Looking Back With Love,” an anthology of old Nabati poetry from the U.A.E. To date he has published six poetry collections and was one of the founding members of the U.A.E Writers’ Union.

He was a member of the Dubai Cultural Council and has participated in several poetry and film festivals, both in the U.A.E and around the world.

Since 1988, Albudoor has been researching and documenting the oral heritage of the United Arab Emirates. This includes Nabati poetry, folk songs, and folk tales.

He is also a documentary filmmaker and holds a Master’s Degree in screenwriting from Ohio University in the United States. His documentaries and television programmes about Emirati cultural heritage have received awards and recognition, both locally and internationally.

Albudoor also a licensed life coach using self development methods and spiritual solutions.

 

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