Khulood Al-Mualla – Ancient Cities

Al-Mualla LE Arab Women P&W April 2024

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Live Encounters Arab Women Poets & Writers April 2024.

Ancient Cities,  flash fiction by Khulood Al-Mualla.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda. 

Ancient cities

I enter the world from its ancient cities
And I do not turn around
In ancient cities, poems sit on the roads
And between stories
They jump over the ribs
And open their arms to the lost
In ancient cities strife flies
And nerdy songs flow out
The coasts hide in them
The clouds descend subtly
And poetry reproduces
In ancient cities as well
Passion flies
Houses dance
Doors and windows open
The heart of the world expands for people like me


The snowball I form with my love makes me feel warm
The snowball that I throw into my heart teaches me to melt
The snowball that bears my name is rebelling
What a feisty whiteness.

Absolutely free

I practice my passion for displaying the sky
Absolutely free
I look out my narrow window
So, I see the whole universe
His biggest secrets are revealed
Absolutely free
I color my small details with the color of snow
I reconcile myself with the moment that brings me pleasure in things
From my narrow window I look out
I enjoy stretching
And my sky is wet with life
I practice my passion of reaping the fruits of my existence
Naked from my old injuries
Naked from the excessive silence around me
Absolutely free
So that I am not complete.

© Khulood Al-Mualla

Khulood Al-Mualla is an Emirati poet and writer. She has published six collections of poetry, and her works have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Turkish, Russian, French, Hindi, Italian, and English. She won the Buland Al-Haidari Prize for Young Poets for the year 2008 at the Asilah Festival in Morocco. Furthermore, she participated as a member of the jury for the 2011 Buland Al-Haidari Prize. In 2016, she was honored along with three world poets in the Initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for Peace Poets. She has also been chosen as a consultant at the International Poetry Festival in Costa Rica in 2020.

Translation by Dr. Salwa Gouda, an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University. She holds a PhD in English literature and criticism. She received her education at Ain-Shams University and California State University in San Bernardino. She has published several academic books, including “Lectures in English Poetry, and “Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism” and others. She has also contributed to the translation of “The Arab Encyclopedia for Pioneers,” which includes poets and their poetry, philosophers, historians, and men of letters, under the supervision of UNESCO. Additionally, her poetry translations have been published in various international magazines.

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