Nagat Ali – At the age of sixty-six

Ali LE Arabic Poetry September 2023

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At the age of sixty-six, poems by Nagat Ali.

At the age of sixty-six

At the age of sixty-six
You will have fun with what is left
From age
And you will name your next days
The “wasted time”
And you will be entertained by watching
The loss of returnees from the sea
And make fun of love
That lost you for years
And made you wake up afraid
In the middle of a dream
But that will never stop you
From strolling among the remains
Of delirious corpses
In the adjacent rooms
To resist the ghosts of loneliness
And you will always be proud that
You have made enough
Of legends.
At the age of sixty-six
The conditions of the city will also hurt you
The one, which got old without noticing it
And you will make fun of the scene of the girl
Who lit a candle for you
To dissipate the negligence
That took too long
And she kept believing that
You are not dead yet.

Outside loneliness

These are not tears, Dad
To hide it away from you
It is the sound of the wound
Bleeding in the heart
And It may be the messages that I have hidden
Encrypted in my poems
So, It may reach you one day
For long nights
I was walking by the river
-That dried up without noticing-
Contemplating my pale shadow
That has become just like you
So I realize that you have taken with you
The light of the world
And that your only daughter has become
The negotiator of time
To let her forget
The betrayals of the body
And the loneliness of the wanderers who walked
Toward nothingness.
And when I was out of my frayed breath
And failed to climb
To your sky
I said I would wait alone
The passing of your spectrum
From here
But you are too late
In the visit
You are late more than enough
And I was tired of the darkness.
I waved my hand to you several times
From the balcony
And you did not see me
You were preoccupied with your appearance
As if you want to stay young forever
Perhaps to see me as a little girl
Who never grow old, no matter how time passes
Come a little closer to me
These are not tears, Dad
This is the silence, that ended
My story with you
But why do not you give me a second
To prepare you dinner
Before you go up again
And leave me a prey to insomnia?!

Let down

The city that did not fit
Your dreams
And kept chasing you all over
The place you migrated to
Turned off its lights early tonight
To allow you
To escape quickly
You will –then- cross the bridge
This time
And your hand stained
With the remnants of my tenderness with you
In the last time we met
Where we sat for hours
-Unconcerned with time-
In the neighborhood restaurant
Which you intentionally get lost in it
I was contemplating your palm lines
That hurt you
And the glow of the eyes
That no one understands its secret
But they say all
They hide
When you say my name in disgrace
So I will convince myself
That you are nothing but
A miserable sailor
Who has no homeland to yearn for
Perhaps you cannot
Read tales
Nor broken faces
Nor the poems I mixed
With despair in my soul
Perhaps you will never understand
That hate is the beginning of healing
From the wound.

© Nagat Ali

Nagat Ali is an Egyptian poet who obtained a PhD with first class honors from the Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University in 2014. Her poems have been translated into several languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Kurdish, Portuguese and Romanian. She has published four collections of poetry, In addition to two books in literary criticism. She won several awards, including the Best Poetry Award for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, 1998 and Tangier Prize for Young Arab Poets, Morocco, 2009. She was selected among the best young Arab writers at the 39th Beirut Prize in 2010. In addition, she won Naguib Mahfouz Award for Literary Criticism, Literary News Award in 2017.