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Live Encounters Arab Poets in Translation August 2023
Memorial Service, poems by Ali Al-Muraikhi.
The peasants returned from the field with wheat
The workers returned from the mountain carrying stones
And while mothers made bread
The engineers built the walls!
It is okay, dad
You have been merciful to us
We decorated the walls with marble
And we inlaid the marble with the alabaster that you love
The calligrapher – my brother – engraved the words you love
And the painter – my brother – painted pictures of your loved one
My sister made all kinds of sweets
And we deposited the small details of the system that you love.
The building is complete
The loaves my mother baked were all done
The shrouds weep you in the washroom
And I supervised it myself
The cemetery is ready, Dad
And the dead are ready.
He did not inherit the name
And he does not have a palace like Al-Khouli’s palace.
The house was of raw bricks
As it rains, he rolls over in fear
And he is covered with the smell of silt at the sound of thunder
The mud was pure, the people for people, the village far away
Transportation to the city is riding on donkeys and camels
And at the station he greets the returnees cordially; “a rose in each hand”
Wherever they pass the house, they spray love to the ground
Roses were growing on the edges of the canals
Al-Khawli calls it the devil’s plant, and people call it the herb.
Ahmed Al-Ward died.
So they built a house for him, and whenever they passed by, they stopped.
They tell their children how it was.
Before this morning
Like a hawk looking at its young from a distance
It happened before this morning that a mother stood in the doorway of the house
She contemplates her children as they play
They were building a village
They make houses out of dust, and young sheep out of palm heart
The houses were real, the sheep too
The grass is growing in the nearby field
And at night the young returns with a ram in their hand
They hang food for it on the windows
They call him by his name
When it leaps, they rejoice with ecstasy
They clap for what their little hands have made
And the mother gathers their day at the end
Then she puts it on a bed of palm leaves
And soars like a hawk looking in the distance
© Ahmed Al-Muraikhi
Ahmed Al-Muraikhi is an Egyptian poet. He works as a Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Radio and Television Magazine. He is also Former Editor-in-Chief of Poetry Magazine. He has published three poetry collections entitled: Against My Will-2008, Movements of Teenagers-2012, and What My Hand Did-2015.